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Mike Pence reportedly in talks to trade away essential health benefits — including maternity and newborn coverage that millions of women gained under Obamacare — to revive the GOP's health law repeal bill

Media are reporting this morning that Vice President Mike Pence and the House Freedom Caucus are negotiating to revive the failed Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill. This rumored proposal would gut maternity care, reduce women’s access to birth control, and raise insurance rates for women. It would also prohibit women from getting care like birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood.  

“Women are sick and tired of seeing a bunch of male politicians like Mike Pence trading away their health care and rights behind closed doors." 
—Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Pence Proposal Would Undermine Essential Health Benefits and Gut Care for Women

The purported negotiation includes giving states the option to opt out of essential health benefits (EHBs), including maternity coverage. Negotiation tactics on the table, reports say, also include eliminating community ratings —  which would let insurance companies charge higher rates for people who are sicker and return to a time when being a woman was a preexisting condition.

Undermining the ACA’s EHB coverage standards is a direct attack on women of all ages.  Women disproportionately rely on every one of the EHB standards — not just maternity coverage — and would be disproportionately affected by the elimination of these services. Women of color would be particularly harmed by these changes and by any provision that would undermine health care coverage, including Medicaid.

When this same group of male politicians peddled the same bad deal two weeks ago, public outrage brought the bill down.

“It is outrageous that a group of men are negotiating to make it harder for women to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a healthy child.”

—Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America


How Undermining the ACA’s Essential Health Benefits Will Hurt Women

The ACA made history by requiring almost all plans to cover maternity and newborn care, in addition to other essential health care. But the nearly 9 million women who gained access to maternity coverage are at risk of losing that coverage or only having access to plans with bare-bones maternity coverage. But that's just one of many EHB services that women stand to lose. 

Top 10 EHB Services at Risk for Women

  1. MATERNITY & NEWBORN CARE: 9 million women gained maternity and newborn coverage thanks to the ACA. Prior to the ACA, only 12% of individual market health plans covered maternity care.
  2. AMBULATORY CARE:Women currently make up approximately 60% of outpatient visits.
  3. EMERGENCY SERVICES: Women account for 6 in 10 visits to the emergency room.
  4. HOSPITALIZATIONS: Women are 70% more likely than men to have had an in-patient hospital stay.
  5. MENTAL HEALTH & SUBSTANCE USE: Women are 40% more likely than men to have mental health needs. Additionally, women areroughly 75% more likely than men to report having recently suffered from depression.
  6. PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Women are more likely than men to need prescription drugs to meet their daily health care needs.
  7. REHABILITATIVE SERVICES: Women are more likely to suffer from a stroke and require rehabilitative services to help them regain motor or speaking skills.
  8. LAB TESTS: Some of the most common lab tests are specifically geared to women, including pap smears, pregnancy tests, mammograms, brca gene testing (breast cancer testing), and many other lab services that are necessary to diagnose and treat conditions that disproportionately impact women like autoimmune disorders, thyroid disorders, and urinary tract infections.
  9. PREVENTIVE SERVICES & CHRONIC DISEASE MANAGEMENT55 million have received access to no cost birth control, well-woman visits, domestic violence screenings, and STI/HIV screenings thanks to the ACA.
  10. PEDIATRIC SERVICES: In two-parent households where at least one parent is a woman, women tend to bear a disproportionate share of childcare and caregiving responsibility for children. In addition, 80% of  single-parent households are headed by women.

Tags: Obamacare, Mike Pence, ACA

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