The Draft Senate Bill to Repeal Health Care Devastates Women’s Health

Today Senators released a draft of a heartless bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will devastate health care for women and families. The bill, which was drafted behind closed doors by 13 male GOP Senators over the past few weeks, prioritizes tax breaks for the wealthy over providing health care coverage for tens of millions of people.

Here are 5 key things that the health care bill does to gut health care coverage:

  • It ends Medicaid as we know it. It caps the amount of federal funding that can go to states for Medicaid, allows states to restructure their own Medicaid funds in ways that will threaten enrollees, and ends the Medicaid expansion by 2023. It allows states to eliminate Medicaid for non-disabled, non-elderly, non-pregnant adults who don’t meet punitive work requirements—including women who don’t return to work just 60 days after giving birth. In sum, it decimates Medicaid: Under this bill, potentially millions of women, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly will lose coverage for critical services – and many will lose coverage altogether.
  • It ends Essential Health Benefits (EHB) coverage for Medicaid expansion enrollees and threatens EHB coverage for people insured through the individual marketplace. The bill allows states to apply for 1332 waivers that could enable states to deny women EHB coverage, which includes maternity care, prescription drug coverage, and mental health coverage. And it outright ends EHB coverage for people enrolled in the Medicaid expansion. Without the guarantee of EHB coverage through the Medicaid expansion, many women would have no options for maternity coverage at all.
  • It allows states to make being a woman a pre-existing condition. The bill would allow states to once again treat women as pre-existing conditions by eliminating the ACA’s nationwide guarantee of coverage for critical services like maternity care, forcing some women to pay more for health insurance that doesn’t even meet their needs.
  • It “defunds” Planned Parenthood by blocking individuals enrolled in Medicaid from going to Planned Parenthood. This means that individuals will not be able to use their insurance to obtain critical preventive services at Planned Parenthood like birth control, cancer screenings, and testing. Without being able to go to Planned Parenthood, millions of people – especially those struggling to make ends meet, women of color, and younger women – will lose the only source of low-cost preventive care they have.
  • It punishes women who choose health insurance plans that cover abortion. The bill would deny individuals the tax credits they would otherwise receive for purchasing health insurance if they choose a plan that includes abortion coverage, effectively banning private insurance coverage of abortion.

Far from “fixing” health care, this bill throws our health care system into chaos and threatens access to care for many millions of people, while delivering tax benefits to the rich. The bill is a disgrace, and the Senators who drafted it know it – why else would they drafted the bill in the most secretive, undemocratic process we’ve seen in Congress in over a century? We will not stand for it.