Senate Republicans have finally unveiled an updated version of their health care bill as they continue fighting for the majority votes needed to repeal and replace Obamacare. While the bill makes some big changes to the previous version released nearly a month ago, it has left some major parts of the original draft intact. Most importantly, the new version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) still poses a major concern for people with pre-existing conditions. (Related: Trump's Health Care Bill Considers Sexual Assault and C-Sections to Be Pre-Existing Conditions)
Under the newly proposed document, Planned Parenthood would still not be allowed to accept patients on Medicaid (which is over half their client base) for at least a year. And while the federal government already prevents Medicaid patients from receiving abortion services, they will also be denied all the other health services Planned Parenthood provides. Some of those services include physicals, cancer screenings, and contraceptive care.
"This is, hands down, the worst bill for women in a generation, especially for low-income women and women of color," Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards said in a statement. "Slashing Medicaid, cutting maternity coverage, and blocking millions from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood would result in more undetected cancers and more unintended pregnancies. And it puts moms and their babies at risk."
2 numbers to memorize:
(202) 224-3121 - congressional switchboard
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) June 26, 2017
One in four Americans say that Planned Parenthood is the only place they can get the services they need. So if the bill passes, this will present a huge public health problem for women. The United States already has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, so this is definitely a step in the wrong direction.
Also, as per the original version of the bill, no federal funds will be used for any insurance plan that covers abortion. The only exceptions to the rule are if the abortion would save the mother's life, or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.
The silver lining is that nothing's official yet; it still needs to pass the Senate. Soon after its release, Maine Senator Susan Collins, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and Ohio Senator Rob Portman announced that they intend to vote against letting the bill move forward, according to the Washington Post. Since Senate GOP leaders need the support of 50 of their 52 members to pass the bill, it's not looking likely.