We could go back to the days when 92% of the best-selling insurance plans practiced gender rating (charging women more than men for the same health care plans).
Wasting no time, Congressional Republicans moved to rip apart the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the first week they were back in Congress. They are now rushing through a health care repeal bill that could take away health insurance from tens of millions of Americans and increase health care premiums for millions more. As if that weren’t bad enough, a leaked draft of House Republicans’ bill to repeal the ACA revealed a provision to “defund” Planned Parenthood and block patients who rely on Medicaid from its care.
Repealing the ACA would roll back the historic gains the law has brought, gains like guaranteeing that women with insurance can get birth control without a copay, and closing some major gaps in health care equity in communities that have faced barriers to care for far too long. It’s no wonder Americans are so, sooo angry about these threats to their health coverage.
If you care about affordable health insurance, get ready to become infuriated. Here’s what you need to know.
How Repealing the ACA Hurts Women
Repealing the ACA without a replacement means as many as 30 million Americans lose health insurance — 82% of whom come from working families.
When you look at women specifically, the stats are stark.
Repealing the ACA means that:
Over 55 million women would lose access to no-copay birth control. They’d also lose the significant savings that they had enjoyed from the ACA’s birth control benefit — to the tune of $1.4 billion in savings from one year on birth control pills alone.
Over 55 million women also could lose copay-free access to other types of preventive care, such as cancer screenings, STI testing, and annual exams.
All women lose protections against insurance companies charging them more than men for the same health care plans. We could go back to the days before the ACA took effect, when 92% of the best-selling insurance plans practiced gender rating, costing women approximately $1 billion a year.
Insurance companies could, once again, consider being a woman a "pre-existing condition" and flat-out deny health coverage to millions of women.
All these consequences would particularly hurt communities that already face unfair, systemic barriers to accessing health care — especially communities of color, immigrant communities, people who identify as LGBTQ, people with low incomes, and people in rural communities.
How Repealing the ACA Hurts People on Medicaid
Repealing the ACA would leave millions of the poorest Americans without insurance.
The ACA allowed states to expand their Medicaid programs to even more low-income adults. That added nearly 17 million more people to the rolls since late 2013, right before the health care law took effect. So, repealing the ACA would put these expanded Medicaid enrollees’ insurance and care in jeopardy.
Beyond the elimination of Medicaid expansion and subsidies, there’s another contentious issue: A leaked draft (pages 26-28) of House Republicans’ bill to repeal the ACA includes a provision to block patients who depend on Medicaid from care at Planned Parenthood health centers. (An initial review of the draft ACA repeal bill shows that it’s the only provision not directly related to the ACA.)
More than half of Planned Parenthood’s patients rely on Medicaid for preventative health care services like birth control, STD/HIV testing, and lifesaving cancer screenings.
How Repealing the ACA Hurts Communities of Color
The ACA brought about the largest reduction in the number of uninsured people in four decades — including coverage expansions for women of color, who are more likely to be uninsured than white Americans. If the ACA is repealed, the uninsurance rate among many communities of color would increase.
The ACA has been critical in improving health care equity for people of color, who have historically faced barriers to accessing health care — and as a result, have experienced worse health outcomes. But an ACA repeal also would take away key preventive care provisions that screen for many diseases and risks that people of color disproportionately suffer from.
Because of systemic barriers to accessing high-quality, affordable health care, Black women have disproportionately high instances of breast cancer, and Latinas are more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer than women of other racial/ethnic groups.
Americans Do Not Want Obamacare Repealed
Repealing the ACA is not popular. The American public believes it is wrong to tear apart their health care access and take away the system that keeps their families healthy and financially secure.
In fact, the vast majority of Americans don’t want to see the ACA repealed without a replacement. Americans support the ACA and its birth control benefit, and they don’t want women to go back to paying more for health care.
And it’s not just Democrats: Americans across the political spectrum don’t want dangerous and backward policies associated with repealing the ACA, such as letting insurance companies impose annual or lifetime limits on benefits, like they did before the ACA.