While the future of the Senate Republican’s latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is uncertain, one thing is very clear – the Graham-Cassidy bill is bad for moms and babies.
- Maternity, newborn and pediatric care are at risk.
States would be able to waive the essential health benefits – like prenatal, maternity and pediatric care – currently covered under the ACA. That’s why even physician groups like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are strongly opposing the bill.
Essentially, this bill could mean a return to a pre-ACA health system when 75% of plans on the individual market did not include maternity coverage. Women would be left to decide between going without needed health services or paying out-of-pocket. That’s a decision no women should be forced to make.
- Women could pay more for less health coverage.
Health plans could charge more for comprehensive coverage. This means more women would be forced to choose between buying cheap bare-bones insurance packages that don’t cover their needs – and paying out-of-pocket for other services (like maternity care) – or paying exorbitant prices for health plans that provide the coverage they need.
We’d be stepping back in time, before the passage of the ACA, when women could be charged more for their health insurance just because they are women.
- Pregnancy could become a pre-existing condition (again).
Insurers would be able to decide what is – and is not – a pre-existing condition, and then charge more accordingly. Just like before the passage of the ACA, women could be denied coverage (or charged a lot more) for health insurance just for having given birth or being of child-bearing age.
In fact, according to the Center for American Progress, insurers could charge pregnant women over $17,000 more, putting health insurance out of reach for millions of women – right when they need it the most.
- The Medicaid program would be gutted.
About one TRILLION dollars in federal funding for Medicaid would be cut. Medicaid is a critical source of health insurance for millions of low- and middle-income people. As the largest insurance program for women, it covers the cost of nearly half of all America’s births.
Without Medicaid, women would become uninsured and lose access to the comprehensive health coverage that they desperately need. For those who could keep their Medicaid insurance, their coverage would likely shrink as states replace comprehensive health services with bare-bones coverage for maternity and infant health services.
- It hurts working families the most.
The bill would end the financial assistance that makes purchasing health insurance possible for millions of America’s middle-income families. It repeals subsidies within ACA – subsidies that currently 85% of people purchasing insurance coverage on the marketplace receive.Coupled with the proposed cuts to Medicaid, the Graham-Cassidy bill would leave millions of Americans without their health insurance, according to analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Graham-Cassidy is not the health care plan that America’s moms and babies—and thus the country as a whole—need. It is time for all Members of Congress from both parties to work together to ensure women, infants and young children have access to comprehensive and affordable health care they need to thrive.