Wasting no time whatsoever, late last night the Senate took the first step toward repealing Obamacare, with a nearly unanimous vote from Republicans on a budget that would do away with existing health care law. While this impacts many Americans, there are several aspects that will profoundly affect women.
In an attempt to save some of the parts of Obamacare that would fall victim to the repeal, Democrats proposed 17 amendments, which were all defeated over seven hours of voting.
One of the unsuccessful amendments — proposed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand — would have required insurance companies to cover the cost of contraceptives. This now leaves 55 million women without access to no-copay preventative services, including birth control, STI screenings and preventative services such as breast cancer screenings and pap smears.
It gets worse.
It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago insurance companies were allowed to consider pregnancy a preexisting condition, precluding people from coverage. Thanks to our friends in the Senate, pregnant people will not be protected from increasing premiums under whatever new health care plan is implemented next.
Gillibrand’s amendment also included provisions ensuring that women are not charged more than men for health care solely based on their gender and that insurance companies include coverage for maternity care — two things Republicans clearly oppose.
Also on the list of affected programs are Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and protections for rural hospitals.
Fighting against attempts to be drowned out by a Republican gavel, all-around hero-boss-wonderperson Senator Elizabeth Warren shouted, “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.”
The budget resolution is also expected to pass in the House as early as tomorrow, then goes back to the Senate for more possible amendments and another vote before it lands on the desk of the president-elect.