March 19, 2017
Giving Birth Could Reportedly Bankrupt Women Under The American Health Care Act

The new GOP healthcare plan called the American Health Care Act has not gone over well in Washington, and now it seems that various American women will begin to hate the current bill too. The American Health Care Act was introduced by House Republicans last month to replace the Affordable Care Act introduced by former President Barack Obama, leading to the name of the plan being referred to as Obamacare. Clearly, Obamacare did have some flaws and Republicans wanted to change it.

One of the glaring issues was the penalty for not having insurance on top of the fact that premiums were at record highs for healthcare coverage. Donald Trump ran his campaign mostly on the back of the idea that he would repeal and replace Obamacare, which many hoped would help more American men and women. However, the GOP's American Health Care Act seems to be doing just the opposite with early projections claiming premiums will actually go up higher with the GOP bill over the next few years. This claimed by the Congressional Budget Office.

They will eventually go down, but not until Trump would be up for re-election, which could in turn cause some problems for him if he wanted to run again by that point. With possible premiums increasing and a plan that actually is said to end up with more uninsured Americans than Obamacare, there does seem to be problem with the bill. However, it appears another major issue has been found with it and it seems to be related to women.

Paul Ryan AHCA
[Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]

According to Kaiser Health News, giving birth could very well bankrupt American women as it appears that the GOP could cut maternity care coverage. For decades, it is well known that giving birth is costly. According to healthcare information company Castlight, just giving birth alone in a hospital costs $9,000, with C-Sections costing more at $11,000. Estimates have ranked it as high as $30 to $50 thousand respectively.

This is a massive amount of money for the average American woman. While there are many cases in which a partner can also help with birth costs, it is still a ton of money to pay out to have your child. For women who get pregnant and do not have employer-sponsored health care, it could be a massive amount of money. Luckily for those that do, the costs are split up between the insurance company and the patient. There are even problems if you do have health care from your employer.

Before Obamacare went into place, only 12 percent of health care plans would cover maternity care costs. Of course, Obamacare pushed for this to be added as part of their ten essential health benefits that employer-sponsored insurances had to add. This was covered by any health insurance found in the Healthcare Marketplace as well. The cool thing for women in this case was that they were covered in full with even a basic high-deductible type of plan.

Seema Verna and Mike Pence
[Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]

The American Health Care Act would likely eliminate maternal care from health insurance plans as a must have addition like Obamacare enforced in its bill. While there might very well be more choice in healthcare plans, companies could charge women higher who want to have maternal care on their plan. Some insurance companies may drop it altogether, and employer-sponsored insurances could remove it on their own to save money.

Without the federal law applied to keep maternal care, many plans could drop it and women could end up forking thousands over to have their child. President Trump's choice to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma said in her confirmation hearing:

"Women have to make the decisions that work best for them and their family. Some women might want maternity coverage, and some women might not want it."
While obviously some women may not want to have maternal care added to their plan, there is a problem by removing this from an overall plan for women. Basically, when you take the federal law out of it, health insurance companies can have tier plans for women that offer cheaper insurance and then higher ones. Women who want to have birth or suddenly get pregnant would then need to buy a higher plan. It is unlikely they would ever be included in the lower plans for women.

Baby from Thailand
[Image by Sakchai Lalit/AP Images]

Whereas now, it is offered in all plans for women due to the federal law having it in place. So women would likely pay higher coverage costs because they need to have maternal care for at least a year or longer. While some women may not want it, all women pay the same for the plans now offered. They can use or not use the maternal care end of it.

Senators and of course health experts have pointed out that, in practice, the choice referred to will end up costing women who want to have children and fewer costs in the plans that might be offered will ultimately be paid for. So we're likely to see bad maternal care coverage with a higher cost just to even get maternal care added at all. This now increases a vast amount of problems.

Women who get pregnant by accident who do not have the money to have a child would likely want to abort the child. Of course, abortion is hated by most Republicans and especially the ones sitting in office. There is also a lack of care for contraception as well. The places that do offer lower costs meds like Planned Parenthood are being defunded by the Republicans as well.

American Health Care Act
[Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]

At the end of the day, we have a number of issues. Higher costs for birth control to avoid having children to begin with. However, they are used for a lot more than just avoiding pregnancy. On top of this, the choice of plan makes it cost more to get maternal care to have a child. From there, you even get a possibly worse coverage plan than the ones currently offered due to the Obamacare law. Therefore, the American Health Care Act might not be good for young women who want families.

This is, of course, if they keep the GOP bill set as it currently stands. There is a silver lining to all of this, however. Even without the federal law passing through Obamacare, many states have enforced that insurance companies cover maternal care. This means that if you live in a state that has this law, you will not be as affected by the GOP change. However, prices may still go up regardless.

Experts believe the American Health Care Act will likely be amended with this and other things changing well before it is made into law by President Trump. The House of Representatives is meeting Thursday to vote on it. Many believe it won't get out of the House, but if it does the Senate will get it soon after and they are almost guaranteed to send it back down for revisions. That said, changes are going to be made before Trump ever sees it on his desk. Maternal care may very well be a major must-add addition that the Senate pushes before they will be willing to pass it on to Trump.

[Featured Image By J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]