MEMO: Republicans Wage War on Women’s Health Care

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Editor’s note: This extremely important analysis of the Republican war on women’s health care arrived in email on International Women’s Day. This should be a major consideration when you vote this fall:

To: Interested Parties

From: Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa

Date: March 8, 2018

RE: Republicans Wage War on Women’s Health Care

On International Women’s Day, we commemorate the work done to move forward equality, and the removal of barriers for achievements by women in Iowa and all over the world. And while there is a lot to celebrate, there are unfortunately elected officials who have made it their mission to wage war on women’s health care.

David Young, Rod Blum, and Steve King have joined with President Trump in waging war on women’s health care. Their policies and votes in Congress put women last, profits first, raise costs for coverage, and limit access to quality health care. 

Protect Our Care has identified a number of ways that the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have attacked women’s health care:

Allowing Insurance Companies To Charge Women More Than Men: Before the Affordable Care Act, insurers on the individual market charged women up to 1.5 times as much as they charged men, known as gender rating. 92 percent of plans in this market practiced gender rating before the ACA. The ACA said women and men had to be charged the same. Now, the Trump Administration wants to go back to the days when women could be charged more. Under the Trump Administration’s recent “short-term, limited duration” rule, insurers would be able to skirt the ACA’s gender rating provision that banned insurers from charging different rates for men and women.

Allowing Insurance Companies To Discriminate Because Of A Pre-existing Condition: The Affordable Care Act said that insurers could no longer deny, drop, or charge more because of a pre-existing condition like cancer, or even, having a C-section. Nearly 30 million women have a pre-existing condition that would have made them uninsurable before the ACA. The Trump Administration’s new “short-term, limited duration” plan allows insurers to discriminate because of a pre-existing condition, causing costs for people with a pre-existing conditions to rise. What this means is a relatively healthy woman could opt for these lesser plans, but develop a condition that might not be covered. For example, studies show one in three women will develop some type of cancer over their life. Women have a 40 percent chance of developing diabetes. For Hispanic women, the chance of developing diabetes is as high as 50 percent.

Making Maternity Coverage More Expensive For Women: Before the Affordable Care Act, 75 percent of individual market plans did not cover delivery and inpatient care for maternity care, and only 11 states required maternity coverage in their individual and small-group markets. The ACA made maternity coverage one of its “essential health benefits,” meaning plans had to include that benefit. The Trump Administration and its Republican allies wants to roll back that progress. They repeatedly offer ways to waive the “essential health benefits” – through their partisan repeal bills, short-term limited duration plans, and association health plans – meaning these plans would not have to meet the requirements of the ACA. A women who purchases maternity coverage separately would have to pay roughly $1,000 more per month. And under the House-passed repeal bill, states were allowed to eliminate community rating, meaning insurers would be able to charge people with pre-existing conditions more. This surcharge could cost women $17,060 for a pregnancy,

Defunding Planned Parenthood:  In January 2018, the Trump Administration announced it would be rolling back an Obama Administration guidance that warned states not to carve Planned Parenthood out of their Medicaid providers, signaling support for state efforts to place even higher barriers in the way of women’s access to health care. And we later learned the Trump Administration did this with the help of a conservative group. The Republican health repeal bills in Congress proposed eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood as well.

Taking Direct Aim At Birth Control: The Trump Administration’s proposed rule to let any employer opt out of offering health insurance that covers birth control rolls back the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee that women may access copay-free contraception.

Attempting To Gut Medicaid: Medicaid is lifeline for millions of women, not only their health care but their employment. The Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans’ partisan repeal efforts in 2017 would have ended Medicaid as we know it. The House-passed repeal bill cut Medicaid by more than $800 billion, or 25 percent. President Trump’s recent budget cut Medicaid by more than $1 trillion over the next decade. Nearly 13 million women of reproductive age (15-44) rely on Medicaid, including 31 percent of African-American women in this age group and 27 percent of similar Hispanic women. Moreover, 22.8 percent of women in the workforce are employed in the health industry. These cuts to Medicaid could put their job at risk.

Putting Onerous New Requirements On Medicaid, Making Some New Moms Have To Choose Between Working Or Risking Their Care: Almost two-thirds, or 62 percent, of those who would lose their Medicaid coverage as a result of work requirements are women, and disproportionately women of color. One reason is women are more likely to be the caregivers for other sick family members, including children or their parents. And women are more likely to be in jobs that do not provide health coverage. What this means is that a new mom would have 60 days to find health coverage after giving birth or risk their family’s health coverage.

Stacking Federal Courts With Anti-choice Judges: For the next generation, American women will face the threat posed by an increasingly anti-choice federal judiciary. 12 of Trump’s judicial nominees were appointed to circuit courts during his first year – more than any other first-year president in American history.

Reversing Progress Against Breast Cancer: Republicans’ repeated attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits threaten landmark progress in women’s preventive health. New research finds that the Affordable Care Act requirement that plans (including Medicare) must cover recommended preventive care without a copay led to a significant increase in the number of women receiving mammography screenings.

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About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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