It’s still unclear whether Senate Republicans will win enough votes to pass their reconciliation bill, which would repeal Obamacare and strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding. But Senator Kirsten Gillibrand isn’t taking any chances. According to a press release from her office, Gillibrand plans to introduce a measure to protect women’s health care, even (and especially) if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
Gillibrand will file an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Resolution that would prevent lawmakers from rolling back certain measures in the ACA that apply to women. Those measures include ensuring women aren’t charged more than men for health care because of their gender; preventing insurance companies from using pregnancy as a preexisting condition to deny women coverage; ensuring women receive things like birth control and mammograms free of cost; and requiring insurance companies to include coverage for maternity care.
“If my colleagues destroy the Affordable Care Act, it will have real, direct, and painful consequences for millions of American women and their families,” Gillibrand said during a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. She went on:
We should never go back to the days when insurance companies could tell pregnant women to go find someone else to insure them, because they thought pregnant women were less profitable for them. We should never go back to the days when insurance companies could tell breast cancer survivors to get lost, because they thought cancer survivors would hurt their bottom lines. We should never go back to the days when insurance companies could make women, and only women, pay more for their health insurance, just because of their gender. We should not turn back the clock on women’s health.
The state of women’s health care under Trump appears grim; not only will 22 million people (most of whom are on Medicaid, i.e., low-income people) potentially lose health coverage when Obamacare is repealed, but given the Trump administration’s record on women’s health, it seems unlikely the new plan will include specific provisions that protect women.
This post has been updated to include Senator Gillibrand’s remarks on the Senate floor.