While You Were Dreaming of a Future That Values Women, the Senate Voted Not to Cover Your Birth Control Anymore
Earlier this week, Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Richards told CNN that the organization saw a 900 percent increase in demand for IUDs after the presidential election. With Trump’s very vocal opinions about repealing Obamacare (AKA the Affordable Care Act), the future of women’s healthcare has been scarily uncertain. And so, women flocked to Planned Parenthood to get one of the few forms of birth control that will outlast Trump’s presidential term.
As the events of last night have proved, all those concerns were warranted and entirely legit. While you were dreaming of an era that values women’s healthcare, the Senate voted against requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of birth control for women enrolled in the ACA.
The vote was part of the ACA repeal process that is currently underway. Voting on the act’s amendments late last night took nearly seven hours. Democratic members fought to keep benefits like contraception coverage and pre-existing condition protection (which affects pregnant women on the plan), but lost on all democratic-led fronts due to the current Republican majority.
Kirsten Gillibrand made a strong argument in defense of birth control coverage before casting her ballot (see video of that above). Elizabeth Warren also made a statement before voting. Shouting over the gavel, Warren said, “On behalf of the Republicans and Democrats who worked for a decade in Massachusetts to bring health care to 97 percent of our people, I vote no.”
Just to add a little bit of context to the decision, this now requires 55 million women to pay out-of-pocket for contraceptives. That cost will vary from state to state, but on average one 30-day pack of oral birth control can cost almost $200.
In addition to these two female-focused repeals, the Senate also voted not to allow young adults (under 26) to stay on their parents’ plan or to protect Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
So, that’s scary. What happens now? The voting that went down last night was part of a budget reconciliation plan that will now go to the House. They’re expected to approve that by tomorrow. Then the House will then draft and approve its own bill on the ACA repeal that will be sent back to the Senate for another vote. If approved by them (which it likely will be), it will be sent to Trump’s desk to approve.
At the news conference Trump gave yesterday, he explained that after a secretary of the Health and Human Services Department is put in office, “It will be repeal and replace. It will be essentially simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day, could be the same hour. Very complicated stuff,” he added.
Currently, there aren’t many details about what exactly those Trump-approved replacements would be, but if the repeal and replacement aren’t simultaneous, as many as 30 million people could end up uninsured.
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(Feature photo via Getty)