President Trump may be 70-years old and proclaim that he “loves women,” but his determination to eradicate key issues regarding health care for low- income citizens, seniors (save for seemingly rich white men) and women as part of his so-called American Health Care Act is proving once again that he “speaks with forked tongue.”
In fact, support for the GOP plan to replace the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obamacare) with their own “American Health Care” legislation is not as unified among conservative within the party as Mr. Trump, VP Mike Pence, and House Speaker Paul Ryan would like you to think. despite its quick approval by 2 House committees last week. The truth is that actual passage of the bill may actually be held up by female Republican Senators including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Maine’s Sudan Collins, who have strong objections to included plans to defund Planned Parenthood. Although Murkowski told Alaskan state legislators that she does not believe taxpayer money should go to fund abortions, she would “not vote to deny Alaskans access to the health services Planned Parenthood provides.”
Although the organization does assist women seeking to end their pregnancies safely, it also provides all women with basic health services including prenatal care, birth control, screening for breast, cervical and uterine cancers, and treatment of STDs etc. While no federal funds have ever been used to end pregnancies, Planned Parenthood does depend on money reimbursed by Medicaid to pay for services provided to low-income women. In fact, these funds amount to nearly 50% of its annual billion-dollar budget.
In addition, terms for the Republican plan would prohibit the use of federal tax credits to purchase any insurance plan that includes coverage for abortions, making it even harder for women to find insurance plans under the federal exchange all together, let alone any sort of healthcare they could afford. This also includes repealing the current mandate that state Medicaid plans “must provide essential health benefits including pregnancy, maternity and newborn care for women.” As a result, Washington State’s Senator Patty Murray (the leading Democrat on the Health, Labor and Education Committee), has called the bill “a slap in the face to women.”
Should Murkowski and Collins refuse to vote for the Bill as it now stands once it moves to the Senate floor, they could actually put is the passage there in jeopardy since there are 52 Republicans there and the party would need 50 votes to pass it. Additional objections to the legislature (although for different reasons) have already been raised by several other GOP members, including Kentucky ‘s conservative Senator Rand Paul, who does not think it goes far enough and has referred to the initial draft as “Obamacare lite.”