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HONOLULU – Today, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai’i (PPVNH) applauds the passage of SB 2340 out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health. If passed, this bill would codify in Hawai’i state law important protections currently required under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Current ACA protections would remain intact to people in Hawai’i, regardless of actions by the federal government, including prohibiting insurers from denying coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and from charging women more for coverage simply because of their gender. The bill would also allow young people to stay on their parent or guardian’s plans until age 26. The bill will be heard next by the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The bill comes at a critical time, as the current federal administration and elected officials continue their unprecedented and unpopular attacks on health care. This administration has undermined reproductive health and rights at every turn – by implementing an expanded global gag rule, undermining the nation’s family planning program, rolling back safeguards for transgender students, threatening DACA recipients, revoking Obama's Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Orders, and attempting to block millions from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood.  

“Planned Parenthood Votes believes that everybody deserves affordable and equitable access to health care,” said Laurie Field, Hawai’i public affairs manager at PPVNH. “In the months since President Trump has taken office, we’ve seen a full-on assault on women’s health and rights, and a fundamental disdain for the reality of women’s health and lives. Hawai’i is countering these attacks and taking the necessary steps to protect the people of Hawai’i by expanding access, eliminating barriers and ensuring protections for critical and life-saving care.”

Since the ACA became law, thousands in Hawai’i gained insurance coverage, 560,000 people with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage, and approximately 6,000 youth in Hawai’i have gained coverage because they are able to stay on their parent or guardian's health insurance plan until they turn 26 years old. In addition, the ACA created strong gains for women, as women in Hawai’i were charged as much as 23 percent more than men for the same coverage.  

“Losing the critical protections established by the Affordable Care Act would be devastating for the women, men, and families in Hawai’i who depend on them,” said Senator Rosalyn Baker. “As a lawmaker and a citizen, I have seen how the ACA has benefitted thousands in my state. It only makes it that much more important to make these protections the law of Hawai’i.”

Restrictions on reproductive health care have been shown to cause harmful effects on public health, particularly for those who already face significant barriers to receiving care, such as low-income women, women of color, immigrant women, young women, survivors of domestic violence, and transgender and gender-nonconforming people.