The Affordable Care Act helped 9.5 million women gain comprehensive and affordable health insurance. Perhaps the most important pillar of the ACA is a provision that all contraceptive methods approved by the USDA must be covered by insurance WITHOUT cost sharing. This is only one benefit of Obamacare that has helped millions of American women. The GOP health care bill, also known as "the American Healthcare Act" includes provisions to cut Medicaid spending, restrictions on abortion and changes to coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions. The AHCA will impact most Americans. But it would hurt young, college-aged women the most.
Here are three ways that the AHCA would change women's healthcare coverage.
1. Limiting Abortion Coverage
51% of women who get abortions are under 25 years old. The tax credits at the center of the AHCA can't be spent on any health care plan that covers abortion. This would make abortion much less accessible and affordable for women. Specifically college-aged women.
2. Defunding Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood is an essential asset for young women in the United States. PP offers sex education, family planning advice and tests and treatments for STIs. These services are particularly helpful for young women, as they might not have a safety net or the financial ability to go to a private practice to receive these services. The AHCA will partially defund Planned Parenthood, which would have drastic consequences. Roughly 40% of Planned Parenthood's funding comes from government grants, and the AHCA would decrease this number drastically. This would take away key services that help millions of young women every year.
3. Access to Contraceptives
Under Obamacare, insurance companies had to cover contraceptives at no additional cost to women. And while the AHCA hasn't yet addressed contraception coverage, President Trump and Vice-President Pence have supported companies denying women access to contraception because of "religious freedoms," which will likely be reflected in the new draft of the AHCA. The new draft of the AHCA will likely include limited access to contraceptives, which can hurt women in college, forcing them to have children before they're ready, and entrapping them in a cycle of poverty.
The GOP healthcare bill will restrict access to services like family planning and abortion, which millions of college-aged women rely on. The ACA was a step forward for quality, comprehensive and affordable women's healthcare in America. The AHCA takes us ten steps back.
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