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New Trumpcare Bill the Absolute Worst For Women, Just Like Trump’s Entire Presidency, Really

Aaaaand, it just keeps getting worse. The fight against our Republican-led government’s insistence on undoing anything having to do with Obama must continue in the face of the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have come up with the Graham-Cassidy Bill, which removes a bunch of stuff from the ACA, with huge ramifications for women. Especially low-income women and women of color.

The Graham-Cassidy Bill removes Obamacare protections for those with preexisting conditions, including essential health benefits like maternity care. So, whether you’re reliant on Medicare or you have your own private insurance, if you are a person who becomes pregnant, things will go back to before under this bill, and pregnancy will be considered a pre-existing condition.

This, coupled with a measure that would block Medicaid recipients from using Planned Parenthood’s services, means that a large number of women won’t have access to the prenatal care they need. Dr. Kristyn Brandi, an L.A.-based OB/GYN and fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, talked to The Slot about the fact that Medicaid pays for almost half of all births in the U.S. and covers family planning for 13.5 million women.

So, the one-two punch of making maternity a pre-existing condition and denying women the chance to use Medicaid at Planned Parenthood means, according to Brandi, that:

“Once they are pregnant, a lot of them rely on things like Medicaid to get coverage for their maternity. So if they cut Medicaid, then women won’t have access to OB/GYNs to get prenatal visits…It’ll go back to the old rules, where maternity care is a pre-existing condition and so patients won’t be able to access care because they have this preexisting condition of pregnancy.”

Amy Friedrich-Karnik, senior federal policy adviser at the Center for Reproductive Rights agrees, saying, “It also slashes Medicaid overall and into the future, and so really impacting particularly low-income women and women of color who rely on Medicaid broadly for their health care.”

Pregnancy itself, then, is a problem this bill (so much for family values), but then again, so is birth control. Brandi continues, saying that, “One thing is that women won’t have access to reproductive healthcare like birth control, so they won’t be able to prevent getting pregnant.” Great. You can’t prevent pregnancy, but you also can’t get help with care to bring that child to term. And forget about abortion.

And then…it’s not just maternity care, but general health care for women, particularly low-income women and women of color who might rely on places like Planned Parenthood. But who cares about poor women, or non-white women, amirite?

How are these old white dudes so okay with this happening? Wait. I think I just answered my own question.

The other inane part of this bill is that it provides states with “block grants,” which basically means that states will receive a flat block of money with which to handle their state’s health care. Friedrich-Karnik explains just how terrible an idea this is, saying:

“If something there were to come up in state, whether it be inflation, whether it be health care crisis in that state, whether it be a natural disaster—anything that might require a fluctuation of the money that a state needs to ensure that all of its citizens the healthcare coverage that they need—it does not account for that. It’s just a block of money, and once that money runs out, the support that people get runs out.”

You’d think that with, oh I don’t know, all the hurricanes that have been in the news lately, that the Republicans might be thinking about ensuring that people will be cared for throughout future disasters. Guess not.

The hugely frustrating thing about this is the fact that, just like with anything else they know is terrible but want to pass anyway because it benefits the wealthy, “Republicans are trying to push the bill through without a full analysis by the Congressional Budget Office by Sept. 30” so they can try to pass the bill with only 50 votes in accordance to Senate rules. And of course, tie-breaker-vote Mike Pence would be sure to make it happen.

If this sounds like a horror show to you, call your Senators and congresspeople and ask them to fight the Graham-Cassidy bill with everything they have. The Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect. It never was. But it added to protections people have, while this bill is trying to take them away. RESIST.

(via The Slot, image: Shutterstock)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.