Yesterday, in a vote of 217 – 213, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the GOP’s healthcare reform bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Intended to repeal and replace Obamacare, the bill was opposed by all 193 House Democrats, alongside 20 Republicans. Planned Parenthood, which has now been the target of House Republicans’ “defunding” legislation twice in two months, issued a statement that denounces the AHCA as “the worst bill for women’s health in a generation” and extensively details the devastating impact it would have on millions of people, if enacted.
Before we get into what the American Health Care Act would do, let’s look at the Planned Parenthood landscape. 2.5 million people, and one in five women, across the U.S. rely on the organization’s health centers for preventive care and essential health services. While “defunding” Planned Parenthood has been the term of legislative choice, it’s, in fact, a misnomer, as they point out in their statement. “Planned Parenthood does not get a blank check from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget. Planned Parenthood receives reimbursements, just like hospitals and other health care organizations, for providing preventive care. Federal law already blocks federal funding from going to abortion services.”
“This is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. This disastrous legislation once again makes being a woman a pre-existing condition.” – Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood
As detailed by Planned Parenthood, the American Health Care Act would:
- Take away health coverage for 24 million people.
- “Defund” Planned Parenthood by blocking people who rely on Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers — including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.
- Eliminate protections that restrict insurance companies from charging people with pre-existing conditions unaffordable rates. Under this bill, health insurance companies could once again charge people tens of thousands of dollars a month because they had cancer.
- Undermine Essential Health Benefits standards, including maternity coverage and prescription drugs, which disproportionately affect women.
- Gut the Medicaid program, which approximately 1 in 4 women of reproductive age rely on to access no-cost, critical reproductive health care such as birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and maternity care.
- Reduce access to no-cost preventive services, including birth control.
- Impose a nationwide ban on private insurance coverage of abortion.
As this bulleted summary barely scratches the surface of the nuances of this bill, we encourage everyone to read the full Planned Parenthood statement here.
Contact Your Senator. Make Your Voice Heard.
The health and well-being of our country’s people and their access to affordable health care, should be of paramount concern to EVERYONE and should not be reduced to an ego-fueled partisan issue. This is a critical human issue, and despite yesterday’s GOP “victory”, this fight is not over. Each of us can do our part to protest the American Health Care Act bill before it goes to a vote at the U.S. Senate. So call, write and/or text your Senator. Make your voice be heard. Senate Directory here.