Wasn’t Ivanka Trump supposed to be able to control her father?
And wasn’t Ivanka supposed to be a champion of women’s health care issues? Wasn’t she going to be the voice of reason that led her father to make wise choices when it came to working women everywhere?
In a year where it feels like the American people are on a runaway train headed for a cliff, I had hope that Ivanka Trump would become a moderate voice for issues I care about, including women’s health care (maternity leave, childcare, family planning services, etc.). CNN’s Jeremy Diamond explained as follows.
“Ivanka Trump is poised to become one of the most influential — and powerful — first daughters in US history. Like few others in the incoming president’s orbit, Trump has her father’s ear and his trust.”
Ivanka Trump could have become a role model for working mothers everywhere, so where was her influence on her father’s new health care plan?
Because whatever you call the replacement for Obamacare (Trumpcare or Ryancare?), there is one thing that it can’t be called: Good for women, children, and families.
When designing a new health policy, the Obama administration chose essential health benefits that had to be offered in the Marketplace and are listed on HealthCare.gov.
- Ambulatory patient services
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
- Mental health and substance use disorder services
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services
Yet, the Trump team chose to take out the provisions that protect women and newborns — and had the discussion without including any women.
The Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel writes in “Room Full Of Men Decides Fate Of Women’s Health Care” that member’s of the House Freedom Caucus, which doesn’t have one female member, discussed many changes to the Affordable Care Act, including not requiring insurance companies to cover maternity care in all health plans.
Not requiring maternity care might be okay if you’re independently wealthy and live in a tower, but it’s not okay for the vast majority of the women in the United States.
CNN’s Jen Psaki states, “These policies treat women like an opportunity for cost savings, not the mothers, grandmothers, caregivers and hardworking members of society who deserve better.”
Before the ACA, women often had to pay more than men for the same coverage, and only a small percentage of health care plans included maternity care. And since it was completely legal for insurance companies to treat pregnant women as if they had a pre-existing condition, why would they voluntarily spend more on women’s health care?
Durning the Trump transition, President-elect Trump and his daughter expressed their desire to push a childcare reform proposal that included a childcare tax credit and six weeks of maternity leave protection.
Jeremy Diamond, from CNN, explained, “That influence will now be put to work on behalf of the issues Trump advocated for during her father’s presidential campaign: helping working mothers by implementing new federal child care and maternity leave policies. She has already begun forming a coalition of women in Congress to implement that agenda, with her father’s blessing.”
For progressives, this was a sliver of hope that a small piece of the Democratic agenda could move forward, even in the Trump White House. However, we clearly overestimated Ivanka Trump’s influence on her father.
It is not fair to lay all of this at Ivanka Trump’s feet. She’s clearly not her father’s keeper even though she’s his new “eyes and ears” in the West Wing. But she chose to take this role in her father’s administration, nepotism laws be damned.
Yet, you can’t aspire to be the role model of working mothers everywhere when you’ve never faced a medical crisis you couldn’t pay for. Ivanka knows that her family will get the best medical care possible. She doesn’t have to worry that her health care plan doesn’t include maternity care and charges her more because she’s a woman.
But the rest of us do.
[Featured Image by Kevin Dietsch/AP Images]