As we commemorate National Women’s Health Week, women and moms across the country are stepping up and fighting back against Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the American Health Care Act.
The reason is simple – the bill passed by the House of Representatives would take away health care coverage from 24 million people, decimate our nation’s cherished Medicaid program, and gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions. The American Health Care Act would make health insurance less affordable, less accessible and less comprehensive for the millions of American families that need it most. This legislation is nothing short of an assault on our health – and a cheap shortcut to unfairly charge women, mothers and their families more for health insurance – all to give massive tax breaks to insurance companies and the wealthiest Americans.
The current version of the bill would allow states to opt out of requiring insurance providers to cover essential health benefits and offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions at a reasonable price. In addition, about half of the country—including those on employer plans—could lose protections that limit out-of-pocket costs for catastrophic illnesses. This will bring us back to the pre-ACA days when people went bankrupt because of medical bills, insurance companies didn’t have to cover the care people need most, and women and people with pre-existing conditions could be charged more for coverage.
One doesn’t have to look far to understand how devastating the Republican Healthcare plan would be for America’s families:
We can’t allow our nation to go back to these pre-ACA days. Our family budget was stretched to the max to pay the premiums for “catastrophic coverage” and a $13,000 deductible. This meant that when it was clear my mom needed to go to the doctor, she didn’t go because we couldn’t afford the copay and she feared that her premiums would skyrocket if she actually used her insurance. When she eventually visited a doctor, she was diagnosed with cancer that could have been easily prevented if she had received medical care at the first signs she needed it. When she needed cancer treatment, her extremely poor health coverage presented endless barriers to obtaining high-quality treatment, from the high deductible, high co-insurance rates, and caps on hospital stays – to the repeated denial of the “medical necessity” of cancer treatments. It was infuriating and devastating and meant that her cancer returned three times, each time harder to treat and survive. ― Sara., Idaho
Every member of my family has what insurance companies consider pre-existing conditions, which means without the ACA we would likely be denied health insurance or be subject to exclusions & delays. My twin daughters were micropreemies with lengthy stays in the NICU (one of them for almost a year!). They’ve had countless medical procedures and multiple surgeries. Both have costly lifelong chronic medical conditions. Just the NICU stay for one of them alone was well over $1 million. It costs well over $100K each year for her medical care, therapy, & supplies, even without counting the cost of in-home care through our state’s Medicaid waiver program. She is medically fragile. Without the ACA, we would be destitute very quickly due to insurance’s lifetime max. ―E., North Carolina
The American Health Care Act would bring women back to pre-ACA days when insurance companies did not have to provide essential health benefits like pediatric care and maternity care – and would result in women and people with pre-existing conditions being charged more money for their health insurance.
I hadn’t seen a doctor – not counting expensive visits to walk-in clinics when I couldn’t stand something anymore ―since about 1976. For three years now, I’ve had actual health insurance that I can afford thanks to my ACA supplement. I’ve had a couple of physicals and some tests and mammograms and everything is good. If we can keep up this system, I have a chance of knowing in advance if anything serious is about to go wrong. That sort of preventative care can save money and lives. ― Teresa., Tennessee
Make no mistake – the American Health Care Act would be an absolute catastrophe for mothers and children. From family planning and preventive services to the nearly half of pregnant women who rely on Medicaid to pay for their children’s births to the millions of older women who rely on Medicaid to pay for their long-term care – the legislation is a wholesale attack on women’s health care.
And slashing Medicaid funding by $880 billion, the Republican health care plan would take away Medicaid expansion coverage from millions of Americans and radically restructure federal funding for basic Medicaid programs – forcing eligibility and benefit cuts in all fifty states. Cuts to Medicaid would force a rationing of care to some of the communities who are lifted by it the most: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American, LGBTQ+, and middle to low-income families; as well as pregnant women, people with disabilities, rural communities, and the elderly. In short, these cuts would hurt our economy and families alike.
I am a self-employed, single parent who works 7 days a week. I am very healthy, but without insurance coverage, my asthma medication costs $300 per month. My child is completely dependent on my income, and she is a childhood cancer survivor able to have access to Medicaid under the current ACA plan. There are many families like mine who will revert to medical bankruptcies or go uninsured if we need to in order to keep shelter and food for our families. ― Erin., Washington.
Preventing the American Health Care Act from becoming law is one of the top priorities for women, moms and their families. For the past several months, thousands and thousands of MomsRising members have testified, signed petitions, made phone calls and written letters to Congress asking them to do what’s best for this country, and for women’s health, by protecting and improving the Affordable Care Act, rather than repealing it and replacing it with a fundamentally flawed bill.
So this week, National Women’s Health Week, join us in opposing the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The health of American women ― and their families ― depend on it.