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We Have 5 Days To Stop The Senate's Attack On Women's Healthcare

womenshealthcaregrahamcassidy

Senate Republicans are still trying their damndest to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act. The newest incarnation of Trumpcare is the Graham-Cassidy bill, created by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. If passed, this legislation will eliminate the ACA and give block grants to the states so they can build their own health programs. And of course, to absolutely no one’s surprise, the bill takes particular aim at eliminating vital protections for women’s health coverage.With just five days left to get the bill through, they are now trying to bribe senators unconvinced by the current bill with increased federal funding to the states they represent. For example, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska played a key role in stopping July’s “Skinny Repeal” at the Senate floor and has opposed the new bill. Under Sunday’s bill revision, Alaska will get a four percent increase in funding for state-run health programs if passed.

While the bill would make healthcare less accessible to millions of Americans including men, here we cover three major ways the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill will fuck over women’s health:

Maternity care

Under the Affordable Care Act, there are 10 essential health benefits that all insurers are required to cover. One of these essential benefits is maternity care. The Graham-Cassidy bill would allow states to pick and choose which health benefits to require coverage for. This means states could choose  to drop all maternity care insurance requirements. If states decided to opt out of insurance requirements, providers wouldn’t have to cover the costs of prenatal doctors visits, lab studies, delivery, and other services like lactation consueling.

Pregnancy could be a pre-existing condition

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In addition to allowing states to forgo coverage of the essential health benefits, the Graham-Cassidy bill would also let states opt out of protection for pre-existing conditions. States could allow insurers to raise prices for patients with chronic illness, disabilities, and even pregnancy. According to The Century Foundation, nearly 12 million have a pre-existing condition. If states roll back these protections, pregnant women could see their insurance prices skyrocket or be denied coverage altogether.

Defunding Planned Parenthood

It’s nothing new for lawmakers to target Planned Parenthood for defunding. It was actually Vice President Mike Pence, then a member of Congress, who first introduced legislation to federally defund Planned Parenthood back in 2007.  The Graham-Cassidy bill will put a one year hold on Planned Parenthood clinics receiving federal Medicaid reimbursements. Even one year without federal reimbursements would cause many clinics to have shut down. According to Planned Parenthood, this would mean around 2.4 million people would lose access to the trusted and necessary services Planned Parenthood clinics provide.

Supporters of the new bill can point to federally funded community health centers as alternatives to Planned Parenthood. But most of these community health centers cannot take on the sheer number of patients who would need to find new clinics for care they used to recieve at Planned Parenthood. Currently, Medicaid cannot cover abortions for reasons other than pregnancies from incest and rape and pregnancies that threaten the mother’s life. If the new bill passes, no care from Planned Parenthood would be covered by Medicaid. This includes non-abortion services like STD screenings and preventative care.

You can help!

The Senate has a deadline of September 30th to get this bill passed — that’s just five days left. We need everyone to speak up and let the Senate know we won’t stand for threatening the health of millions of Americans. Here’s what you can do to help stop this disgraceful bill in its tracks:

Look up your state’s senator and call their office.Call and let them know you are a constituent who wants your senator to oppose the Graham-Cassidy Bill. Calling can be intimidating, but it’s easier than it sounds and makes an important impact. You can also message Resistbot, an automated program that will send your message to your senator’s office for you.

Top photo via Flickr Creative Commons/Mobilus in Mobili

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Kat Kothen-Hill is a BUST intern living in Brooklyn, NY.

Follow her on Twitter:@katkothenhill and on Instagram:kitkatkothenhill.

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