With a 217-213 vote, House Republicans were able to very narrowly pass their latest repeal and replace bill to bring Obamacare to an end, reports the New York Times. The bill now has to make its way through the Senate, where it is expected to face fierce opposition from Democrats and some members of the GOP.
Despite President Donald J. Trump’s previous statements about moving on from health care, House Republicans have been working on this new bill for several weeks. One of the major issues facing this bill is the lack of support from Republicans who don’t believe it goes far enough.
What it Could Mean to Lose the Preexisting Conditions Clause
In a controversial move, this version of the Obamacare repeal and replace bill removes protection from individuals who have preexisting conditions. Additionally, nonpartisan experts have indicated that the bill will significantly cut the federal budget, but this would come at the cost of 24 million Americans losing health care coverage.
If the repeal and replace bill, which has been named the American Health Care Act, passes the Senate, it will dramatically change the way lower income individuals receive coverage. For example, there will be no more subsidies based on income levels, and Medicaid is expected to stop providing open-ended coverage to people in need.
According to the Huffington Post, opponents of the repeal and replace effort have been vocal about some of the unexpected issues that could arise from repealing the clause about preexisting conditions. Before Obamacare, it was legal for insurance providers to charge survivors of sexual assault more money for coverage. If the current version of the American Health Care Act passes the senate, this will become legal once again.
Are Women Being Targeted with this Legislation?
Another change that women may face if House Republicans are able to gather enough Senate support to send this bill to the president is an increase in medical and insurance costs as a result of having a C-section. It remains to be seen if the bill can be passed with protections for preexisting clauses ripped out, but if it does, there is a precedent for insurance providers to follow that could greatly hurt women.
Prior to Obamacare, sexual assault survivors could, and sometimes did, face unnecessary hurdles receiving treatment. One case out of Florida involving a 45-year-old woman who was raped ended with her being unable to afford new insurance coverage for three years. The Hill reports that providers cited her preexisting condition as a reason to greatly increase their premiums or to even deny her coverage altogether.
I just texted my husband to apologize for going to hospital after I was raped bc it could affect our insurance coverage if new bill passes.
— Britni de la Cretaz (@britnidlc) May 4, 2017
Due to these potential issues, women are flocking to Twitter to express how upset they are with House Republicans. Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan sent out a press release that denies the possibility that people with preexisting conditions may become unable to get coverage. What Ryan didn’t mention, though, is the provision in the repeal and replace act that would make it legal for providers to charge more to people who have a preexisting condition.
Preventative Healthcare Benefits Could be Revoked
Another piece of the repeal and replace bill that has captured the attention of watchdogs is a provision in the MacArthur-Meadows addendum that targets essential health benefits. Currently, insurance providers are required to offer access to preventative health care, substance abuse treatment and mental health care. If the American Health Care Act passes, states could apply for waivers that would enable insurance companies to deny coverage for these basic needs.
The bill will move on to the Senate, where its fate will ultimately be decided. If the House Republicans ultimately fail in this latest repeal and replace attempt, it’s unclear if they will continue to work toward ending Obamacare.
[Featured Image by Tara Dodrill]