Posted by: maboulette | March 8, 2017

GOP Split on Trumpcare


After seven years this is the best the GOP could come up with?  Now they are arguing about it.


The GOP answer to the Affordable Care Act was finally unveiled, and it’s already about as big a hit as New Coke was when it hit the market. Nobody seems to like it or even see it as an enhancement over what we already have, save Paul Ryan and the underlings whose job it is to convince the public that they should agree with Paul Ryan. Liberals hate it. Conservatives hate it. And low-income Americans will definitely hate it, once they realize what’s in it.


As policy analysts begin to work their way through the 123-page bill in an effort to gather its exact ins and outs, one thing is clear: this bill is not kind to women. In fact, parts of it read as though GOP lawmakers intentionally set out to make having female reproductive parts even more of an expensive headache than they already are. The AHCA covers several ways in which low-income women could be further burdened with higher healthcare costs and fewer choices.


The GOP’s plan:

  • Guts the Medicaid expansion;
  • Defunds Planned Parenthood;
  • Sunsets a federal rule that requires that qualified insurance plans cover things such as mental health care, maternity care, and pediatric dental and vision care, among other things.


This means states can individually choose not to require any insurance plans to cover maternity and that a woman who is planning to have a child need to purchase insurance riders to that those things.  And these would in most cases be ridiculously expensive. The fate of ACA’s birth control mandate – which allowed women to obtain contraception at no out-of-pocket-cost, supposedly because making it easy for a woman not to get pregnant is more cost effective than dealing with women who are pregnant and does not want to be—is all also up in the air.


In short, if the GOP House plan were signed into law as it is, women could face financial consequences for being poor or for using birth control or for not using birth control, or for giving birth, or for having children who need medical care.  They are getting screwed.


Stephanie Glover who is a senior policy analyst at the National Partnership for Women and Families, lays out the AHCA’s one-two-three-four punch to women’s health like this: “One by one this would be really bad for women’s health. Packaged in a single bill is pretty alarming.”


Glover believes that the bill, if enacted as it, would harm the financial health of families especially single mothers and make it more difficult for women to choose their own health care providers.


It’s also not clear who will be paying for health care for poor women and their families under this new plan, if not insurance or government assistance. Money does not simply materialize because Paul Ryan thinks freedom is the ability to buy things. Prior to the passage of the ACA, the poor and uninsured waited to seek health care until it was serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. Then, because they had no way to pay the bill, they’d skip out on it. Which drove the price of other people’s health care up. One way or another, unless doctors are suddenly supposed to turn a blind eye to women who can’t afford reproductive health care giving birth in the streets, somebody is going to pay for their health care.


The GOP bill is, at best, a less-good version of the flawed bill it was supposed to replace. Liberals, moderates, and conservative Senators alike are recoiling of passing it through as-is. But the architects behind the House bill clearly aren’t totally stupid; they must have had an inkling that some of the legislation’s r features would be cut.


Why, then, would House Republicans include so much language in their bill that precisely targeted the poor and/or female, unless it was to throw red meat to a base that wanted to see those groups punished? And what does that say about the moral character of their base?


For all of its flaws, at least the Affordable Care Act gave women relief from the nightmare of the unencumbered insurance market, from politicians’ short-sighted attempts to charge men and women different prices for health care. As though having female body parts is a choice and as though men don’t owe their lives as well as existence to the bodies of women.


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