The Senate ACA Repeal Bill Will Cause Coverage of Abortion to Disappear

It’s pretty clear that the Republican Senators’ plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act  no matter what is just plain heartless—not to mention wildly unpopular. After all, it takes health insurance coverage away from 32 million people. But they are dead set on the plan, so in their last ditch effort they’ve decided to try and just substitute an old repeal bill from 2015. This new version is almost exactly the same, except they went out of their way to add in abortion restrictions.  So this bill too is a full frontal attack on access to abortion. If it were to pass it would profoundly threaten women’s economic security by eliminating private insurance coverage of abortion.

How is the Senate ACA repeal bill eliminating abortion coverage?

The bill penalizes women who want to buy comprehensive insurance plans that cover abortion by denying them the tax credit they need to make insurance affordable. It also punishes small businesses that provide employees with insurance plans that include abortion – no tax credits for them either. Beyond these tax credits, Senate Republicans are showing their true colors by adding even more restrictions to abortion coverage.
So what is the result of these restrictions?  The insurance market will likely drop abortion coverage entirely. That’s because these new restrictions are piled on top of existing ones – like the restriction on Medicaid coverage of abortion and the state laws that already prevent insurance plans from covering abortion. That’s right – add up all of these restrictions and you will no longer have the option of insurance that covers abortion. These provisions are so extreme that they have the endorsement of anti-abortion groups. Sound enough like Handmaid’s Tale yet?

Why is insurance coverage of abortion important?

The cost of an abortion without insurance coverage is prohibitively high for many people, with the burden of these provisions falling disproportionately on those least able to afford it. Under the repeal bill, women could be on the hook for paying as much as $3,000 out-of-pocket for an abortion, a particularly difficult burden for the 75% of abortion patients who are living paycheck to paycheck. For a woman working in a low-wage job, an abortion could cost as much as four months’ salary. When a woman is denied coverage of abortion, she may be forced to choose between basic necessities and obtaining needed care to cover the costs. This is an unacceptable and unrealistic decision to force her to make. Many women may be forced to postpone care while attempting to raise the necessary funds. Although abortion is an extremely safe procedure, each additional week of pregnancy exacerbates the costs and health risks of the procedure, which in turn threatens to push women deeper into poverty.
Our resistance to the Senate ACA repeal bill is working –Republicans keep delaying the vote in part because they have been getting calls from across the country, including from the 64% of Americans who believe health insurance plans should cover a broad range of health care services for women, including abortion. However, the fight is far from over. We need to keep up the pressure on Senators and remind them that if they mess with people’s economic security and ability to make the best decisions for themselves and their families when faced with an unintended pregnancy, they will hear from us. So speak up, speak out, and protect access to abortion!