Finally being able to complete one of his many campaign promises, President Trump and his administration are rejoicing after his American Health Care Act (AHCA), or Trumpcare, was passed by the House of Representatives.
Now it is in the Senate’s court to either pass or block a bill that would be detrimental to the basic health of women in America.
In the White House they are celebrating successfully completing the first step in repealing Obamacare, but Americans, especially women, everywhere are appalled and concerned for their future and rightly so.
The future of women’s health in America is in trouble. From classifying sexual assault, pregnancy and domestic abuse as preexisting conditions to placing an anti-abortion and anti-contraception activist in charge overseeing a national family planning service, the next four years look troublesome and bleak.
“Quite honestly, it’s a disaster. While I do agree that the Affordable Care Act was unsustainable, it was a step in the right direction. The American Health Care Act is setting the clock back to even higher premiums and a death spiral,” Emma Gonzalez, DePaul alum said now volunteering in organizations such as Rape Victims Advocate and JourneyCare. “While any repeal would be expensive, this repeal and reform will be expensive and cause harm.”
At its core, Trumpcare would void the federal mandate requiring health insurance carriers coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, a issue an individual has had before the start of their new health coverage. The proposed amendment to rule out pre-existing conditions is due to the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment proposed by representative Mark Meadows and Representative Tom MacArthur.
Both came to agreement to create the amendment, which would eliminate the coverage of pre-existing conditions. We can thank both for this waiver that will make cases of mental disorders, pregnancy and domestic violence classified as pre-existing.
As of now, it will make it possible for carriers to deny individuals coverage for those diagnosed with a pre-existing condition thus making treatment more expensive.
The AHCA might as well include ‘women’ as a pre-existing condition since, in regards to sexual assault, most of the conditions up in the air for coverage affect the female population. According to RAINN, 90 percent of adult rape victims are female.
On college campuses, female students, ages 18-24, are three times more likely than women in the general public to experience sexual assault. Women in the same age group are four times more likely to experience some sort of sexual assault.
Sexual assault survivors will be at higher risk since, disappointingly, rape could also be classified as a pre-existing condition.
Since his campaigning days and after Trump’s infamous “grab her by the pussy” comment, his disregard for women has always been known. But, if the Senate passes AHCA, all women should consider his conservative act as a direct threat to their health. This act can set a precedent in culture through law and politics, which will ultimately affect the health and condition of women’s bodies.
This was the case in 2010, before Obama’s Affordable Care Act went into effect and sexual assault survivors could have been denied health care coverage. If passed by the Senate, AHCA can deny precautionary services such as mammograms and gynecological exams, which survivors of sexual assault rely on in the medical process afterwards.
Healthcare companies can potentially deny coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder, STDs and other mental or physical diseases that can result after sexual assault. This bill demonstrates the complete disregard Trump and his administration have towards women’s health.
“My impression is that the bill is lacking in a lot of areas, many compassion and ethics. That might seem harsh, but it’s all about the bottom line, as opposed to being about people,” DePaul alum Felicia Darnell, said. “It excludes more people than it covers, and it absolutely disproportionately excludes women.”
For many college-aged students, the AHCA should be of big concern since it labels depression and anxiety as pre-existing conditions, according to CNN. As of now, it will make it possible for carriers to deny individuals coverage for those diagnosed with mental illnesses making it more expensive for them to receive treatment.
Also on Trump’s health care agenda is birth control. Not part of the AHCA, contraception falls under his executive order on religious freedom. On May 2, Trump hired anti-abortion and anti-contraception activist Teresa Manning to oversee the federal family planning service. She will be the deputy assistant secretary for The Office of Population Affairs, a branch under the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees Title X and it’s funding.
“I think unintended pregnancy is going to still be low because of the use of IUD’s and other long term methods, but maybe in like three to five years we’re going to start seeing that go back up as IUDs expire and there are no options available,” Gonzalez said. “I also think back alley abortions are going to return in rural areas. I would also consider if suicide rates will go up for young women as well.”
For women solutions to these problems seem distant. Dependency on clinics such as Planned Parenthood and family planning nonprofit services will be necessary, but with Manning in control of federal family planning services the future is concerning since its funding also is under attack.
“The AHCA and the Trump administration at large clearly hold great contempt for women, however their policies specifically target women of color and poor folks,” senior Anna Kochakian said. “I don’t see white upper class being unable to pay for necessary medical costs when it comes down to it, even if their premiums increase whereas those who cannot afford to pay more than they do already under the ACA would legitimately be unable to survive under the ACHA.”