On Wednesday, the Republican majority will vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. By voting for repeal, the Republican majority is taking away valuable health care protections and benefits provided for women. The truth is that women have the most to gain from the Affordable Care Act. Prior to passage of the law, women faced severe discrimination from health insurance companies. Through a practice known as ‘gender rating’, women who purchased insurance on the individual market paid up to 48% more in premium costs than men. Equally offensive, 79% of women who purchased insurance on the individual market still did not receive any maternity coverage through their insurance plans. By the time the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014, these problems will be resolved. For example, the Affordable Care Acts ensures “gender rating” will end by 2014. It also ensures that maternity services are included in all health insurance plans offered on newly created health insurance exchanges. In addition, by 2014:
- Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to victims of domestic violence. Previously, 8 states and the District of Columbia allowed insurance companies to deny such coverage. No more. Under the Affordable Care Act, this practice is outlawed, and victims of domestic violence will be able to safely and securely access the treatment they deserve.
- Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to classify pregnancies and C-sections as “pre-existing conditions”, and women will no longer face the prospect of discrimination because they gave birth.
- Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to place “lifetime limits” on health benefits for women, and end care when its need the most.
- Women who do not have access to insurance through employers will be able to obtain insurance through health insurance exchanges. These exchanges are being designed and implemented as we speak to offer a wide selection of health insurance plans at competitive rates.
- Women will receive free preventative health services, from mammograms to pap smears.
- The “donut hole” in Medicare Part D will be closed through the Affordable Care Act, helping women pay for health care as they grow older.
All of these reforms have been designed and implemented in a way that reduces our nation’s deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 20 years. Finally, despite Republican claims, the Affordable Care Act does not “kill jobs”. Instead, it will allow a small portion of Americans to retire and still pay for the care they need. The Republican majority bases their “job-killing” claim on a CBO report titled “The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update”. While it never mentions the phrase “job killing”, the report says, “The expansion of Medicaid and the availability of subsidies through the exchanges will effectively increase beneficiaries’ financial resources. Those additional resources will encourage some people to work fewer hours or to withdraw from the labor market.” In short, any reduction in the number of people working will be because they no longer need to work, not because they can’t find jobs. The “labor market” will decrease as healthier Americans, with money in their pockets, are able to retire earlier, while still paying for the care they need. After hearing these benefits, the Affordable Care Act isn’t as scary some would claim, is it? Because of the benefits and protections for women and the positive impact on our nation’s finances I oppose any attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act. I encourage you to call your Representatives and urge them to do the same.
Follow Rep. Louise Slaughter on Twitter: www.twitter.com/louiseslaughter