March 24, 2017
The Daily Beast: Death of Trumpcare Means Life for Women’s Health Care
by Erin Gloria Ryan
Today, women’s health organizations like Planned Parenthood are breathing a sigh of relief.
After the better part of a decade of promises and threats, the best hope Republicans had to repeal and replace Obamacare was finally put out of its misery today. While the ensuing blame-assignment slapfight between House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump will likely be both embarrassing and entertaining, nobody has more reason to celebrate the whimpering demise of the American Health Care Act than women.
Donald Trump and Paul Ryan have been playing political hot potato with responsibility for the ACHA since the legislation’s flaccid debut earlier this month. But whether you call it Ryancare or Trumpcare or TheyDontCare, its language has always been disturbing to women’s health advocates. The first version of the bill stripped all federal funding from Planned Parenthood for a year, slashed Medicaid funds, and mandated that women purchasing their insurance policies on exchanges buy supplemental abortion coverage, in case they thought they ever might not want to be pregnant.
The second version of the AHCA did what the first bill did, but louder, to appease the GOP’s most conservative wing. In addition to doing all of the things the first version did, it also eliminated the essential care requirement, which mandated insurance policies cover things like preexisting conditions, maternity care, and mental health care.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the second version would toss about as many people off insurance as the first one, and cost slightly more.
Women’s groups celebrated the AHCA’s death. The National Partnership for Women and Families called the bill “atrocious.” EMILY’s List praised collective action’s role in the bill’s failure. Planned Parenthood, on the ropes since Trump assumed power, celebrated its own organization’s continued existence.
While Obamacare is far from perfect as-is, women who may want to have a child, or not have a child, or access mental health care, or live happily inside a healthy human body, can put worry about their finances being completely at the whim of their health aside. They don’t need to worry about purchasing several types of insurance in order to address all of the things their bodies might do. For now.
During a press conference announcing the death of the American Health Care Act, House Speaker Paul Ryan, his smile bleeding with effort, told the press that he had no plans to push for an Obamacare repeal in the foreseeable future.
Moments later, at the White House, President Donald Trump sang a different tune. He asserted that it was his idea to pull the bill, that it was the Democrats’ fault that the bill failed, and that he wanted the bill to fail anyway. There will be another bill, he said. A bigger one. A better one.