Today’s Health Care Battle in Congress Directly Affects Women’s Health

Today in Congress the GOP is working overtime to repeal health care reform policies that directly impact women. The “Affordable Care Act” creates jobs, provides affordable services to millions of women currently without care, and lowers service costs to the consumer. Seems like a no-brainer, those are good things, right?

Apparently not to the Republicans . The House and Senate are set to vote today, and while the repeal is expected to go through in the Republican majority House, the Democratic Senate majority has pledged to block it.

Health care reform as it stands has a lot of direct and concrete benefits for women and young people. For one, it allows people to stay on their parent’s health insurance up to age 26. Score. There are other key benefits specifically for women according to Raising Women’s Voices, a national initiative ensuring that women’s needs are addressed and met through health care reform:

  1. Repeal would roll back the promise of more affordable insurance that’s easier to obtain for the 4.5 million women who will be newly eligible for Medicaid in 2014 and the 11 million women who will be eligible for tax credits to subsidize the cost of premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
  2. Repeal would take away the protections that will make it easier for women to find comprehensive health insurance that covers maternity and mental health care by requiring all plans sold to individuals and small employers to cover these essential health benefits.
  3. Repeal would give insurance companies the green light to continue charging higher rates to women and denying us coverage if we’ve had breast or cervical cancer, a Cesarean section delivery or received medical treatment for domestic violence.
  4. Repeal would take away the tax credits that are making it easier for small employers to provide health insurance for their employees, many of whom are women.

There are also specific benefits for reproductive health of both women and men. The Guttmacher Institute lays out the short and long term benefits of health care reform including preventative care and expanding patient’s rights. Things people need.

In addition to this, there is anti-choice legislation in the House that would block federal Title X family planning grants to organizations that provide abortions with their own funds. Anti-choice groups are also pushing to reintroduce stricter anti-abortion language to codify restrictions on on insurance coverage of abortion barring federal funds from “pay(ing) for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion.” But health care reform does not mandate abortion coverage.

With all this going on, some of the debate is fixated on the language of the GOP’s official mission (as stated in H.R. 2): “To repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.” The phrase “job-killing” is used 4 times in the 255-word bill (every 64 words) and it’s a lie. But discourse around the insensitivity of using “killing” in the wake of Tucson has trumped importance around the facts of what’s actually in the bill. Jon Stewart breaks down the insanity…we laugh so we don’t cry.

As members of a democratic society, we have the ability to counter this tomfoolery with a quick email or call to our Representative to ask them to vote NO to the repeal bill. Find your representative here and call 877-667-6650 if you are contacting your representative.

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