The House just passed President Trump's bill, which includes an amendment that has some scary implications for women's health.
Scrapping Obamacare was one of the first things President Donald Trump swore he would do upon settling into the Oval Office. However, within his first 100 days in the big seat, the GOP's hopes of a new health care bill had hit some snafus. In late March, Republicans pulled their new bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), when they realized it couldn't garner enough votes from the House of Representatives to pass.
Now, the AHCA has resurfaced with some amendments in an effort to thwart enough opponents to get it through, and it worked; the House of Representatives just narrowly passed the bill 217–213 to send it to the Senate.
You probably already knew the AHCA would change a lot about the American health care system. But one of the noteworthy (and downright disturbing) elements to this latest revision is an amendment that could allow insurance companies to limit or deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. And guess what? Sexual assault and domestic violence would fall under that category.
Wait, what?! The MacArthur Meadows Amendment would allow states to seek waivers that weaken some Obamacare (ACA) insurance reforms that protect people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes, and cancer. This means insurance companies could charge higher premiums or deny coverage based on your health history. Companies also may be able to consider things like sexual assault, postpartum depression, being a survivor of domestic violence, or having a C-section as pre-existing conditions if this amendment is passed, according to Raw Story. It would also allow states to waive preventative health services like vaccinations, mammograms, and gynecological screenings in certain situations, according to Mic.
While certain pre-existing conditions like diabetes and obesity are relatively gender neutral, allowing gender-specific health issues like postpartum depression (PPD) and C-sections to be considered pre-existing conditions isn't exactly fair. That would allow insurance companies to say "pass" on covering a woman with PPD because she may require therapy or other health-related support, or charge her a higher premium.
To clarify: This was all legal prior to the implementation of Obamacare. The new amendment will simply undo the protections that the ACA put in place that kept insurance companies from basing costs and coverage on health history.
It's worth noting that it is possible that some states may keep the Obamacare protections in place—though they could seek these waivers to eliminate them as well. Where you live, work, eat, and play could vastly change your health care as you know it. More updates to follow; the AHCA—and this amendment—is now in the hands of the Senate.