Rolling Back the ACA’s Essential Health Benefits Will Hurt Women
For Immediate Release: March 24, 2017
The ACA repeal bill is the worst legislation for women’s health in a lifetime. Among its many provisions, it would remove the ACA’s Essential Health Benefits (EHB) coverage standards, which is a direct attack on women of all ages. Women disproportionately rely on every one of the EHB standards -- not just maternity coverage -- and would be disproportionately affected by the elimination of these services.
In addition to removing EHB, the ACA repeal bill would prohibit women from getting care like birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood; kick millions of women off their insurance; reduce access to no co-pay birth control, and impose a nationwide ban on private insurance coverage of abortion.
1. AMBULATORY CARE: Women make up approximately 60% of outpatient visits.
2. EMERGENCY SERVICES: Women account for 6 in 10 visits to the emergency room.
3. HOSPITALIZATIONS: Women are 70% more likely than men to have had an in-patient hospital stay.
4. MATERNITY & NEWBORN CARE: 9 million women gained maternity and newborn coverage thanks to the ACA. Prior to the ACA only 12% of individual market health plans covered maternity care.
5. MENTAL HEALTH & SUBSTANCE USE: Women are 40% more likely than men to have mental health needs. Additionally, women are roughly 75% more likely than men to report having recently suffered from depression.
6. PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Women are more likely than men to need prescription drugs to meet their daily health care needs.
7. REHABILITATIVE SERVICES: Women are more likely to suffer from a stroke and require rehabilitative services to help them regain motor or speaking skills.
8. LAB TESTS: Some of the most common lab tests are specifically geared to women, including pap smears, pregnancy tests, mammograms, brca gene testing (breast cancer testing), and many other lab services that are necessary to diagnose and treat conditions that disproportionately impact women like autoimmune disorders, thyroid disorders, and urinary tract infections.
9. PREVENTIVE SERVICES & CHRONIC DISEASE MANAGEMENT: 55 million have received access to no cost birth control, well-woman visits, domestic violence screenings, and STI/HIV screenings thanks to the ACA.
10. PEDIATRIC SERVICES. In two-parent households where at least one parent is a woman, women tend to bear a disproportionate share of childcare and caregiving responsibility for children. In addition, 80% of single-parent households are headed by women.
6 Ways the ACA Repeal Bill is the Worst Bill for Women’s Health in a Generation
As House Republicans scramble for votes to pass the ACA repeal bill, they are making a terrible bill for women’s health even worse. It makes it harder for women to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a healthy child.
Here are 6 ways the ACA repeal bill is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation:
1. Blocks low-income patients from receiving health care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
The bill would block millions of women from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Every year, 2.5 million women, men, and young people rely on Planned Parenthood for essential health care services, like birth control and life-saving cancer screenings. Many of these people, particularly those in rural areas and medically underserved areas, will have nowhere else to turn to for care if Planned Parenthood health centers are forced to close their doors. Despite false claims, community health centers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients and in any case, women should be able to choose their health care provider the same as politicians in Washington, DC do.
2. Forces new mothers on Medicaid to find work shortly after giving birth.
The bill gives states the option to impose work requirements as a condition of obtaining Medicaid coverage. It also gives states the ability to revoke Medicaid from new mothers if they don’t find work within 60 days of giving birth. Work requirements are generally unnecessary and harmful, as nearly 60 percent of Medicaid enrollees who can work do, and if they don’t work it’s as a result of a major impediment. Work requirements disproportionately impact women as they account for 62 percent of Medicaid enrollees who are not working. Work requirements for new mothers are especially harmful.
3. Guts maternity care.
The bill gets rid of the “essential health benefits” provision, which requires the majority of health plans to cover services like maternity and newborn care, mental health services, and prescription drugs/ By eliminating essential health benefits, many plans would not offer maternity care, given only 12 percent of individuals plans covered maternity care prior to the ACA.
4. Kicks millions of women and men off their insurance.
The bill slashes Medicaid and ends Medicaid expansion which will result in women, disproportionately women of color, losing critical access to care. The CBOreports that 24 million people will lose coverage over the next 10 years, 14 million of which will lose Medicaid coverage due to the bill's hard-hearted measures to kick people off of Medicaid. Approximately 20% of women of reproductive age rely on Medicaid to access no-cost, critical reproductive health care such as birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and maternity care. The bill also makes coverage less affordable (by reducing financial assistance to purchase coverage), resulting in even more women losing coverage.
5. Reduces women’s access to no co-pay birth control.
While the bill does not specifically repeal the no-copay birth control benefit, the fact that millions of women will lose coverage means they will no longer have access to no-copay birth control. Under the ACA, more than 55 million women gained access to no-copay birth control in the private insurance market, and approximately 16.7 million women benefit from Medicaid coverage, which also covers birth control at no cost. Paying out-of-pocket for birth control pills can cost a woman up to $600 per year, which is simply unaffordable for young women and people with low incomes who are struggling to make ends meet. Arecent poll found that 33% of women could not afford to pay more than $10 for birth control.
6. Imposes a nationwide ban on private insurance coverage of abortion.
The bill prohibits federal financial assistance from being used to purchase a private plan on or off the Marketplace if it covers abortion. Employers will also be impacted by this provision, as small employers will not be able to use a tax credit to help purchase coverage for their employees that cover abortion. As a result, plans will be coerced into dropping abortion coverage, outside of rape, incest or life endangerment to the woman, despite the fact that abortion is one component of providing women comprehensive reproductive health care coverage. More than one million women currently have access to Marketplace plans that cover their full reproductive health care needs, including abortion. Given this provision extends outside of the Marketplace, the number of women impacted could be far greater given insurance plans, when not barred by state law, typically cover abortion. Women, no matter how much money they make or how they get health insurance -- should be able to able to access the full-range of reproductive health care, including abortion and make their own decisions about pregnancy based on their own unique circumstances.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
March 24, 2017