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What You Need to Know Today About Friday’s Health Care Bill Failure

Unless you’ve been doing a social media cleanse, you know that on Friday, Republicans abandoned their proposed health care bill. It’s a lot to keep track of, but here’s what you need to know this Monday morning.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks at the South Carolina State House on January 28, 2023 in Columbia, South Carolina.
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1. Paul Ryan and Republicans failed – big time

On Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the GOP’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, because it did not have enough support. No official House of Representatives vote was taken because it was clear that at least 33 Republicans — primarily members of the Freedom Caucus — would not get behind the bill. According to reports out of D.C., Ryan got down on one knee and pleaded with Rep. Don Young of Alaska to support the bill. It did not work.

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2. Freedom Caucus

The Freedom Caucus is a small group of conservative Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives founded in 2015. Ultimately, it was their opposition to Ryan’s bill that caused the bill to be pulled. But don’t start sending fan letters to its members just yet — keep in mind that just because they didn’t support this bill, it doesn’t mean that they’re in favor of keeping Obamacare on a long-term basis.

3. What their bill looked like

The GOP health care bill — “Trumpcare” if you will — would have eliminated the individual mandates put in place by Obamacare and replaced them with refundable tax credits, primarily based on age, to use to purchase health insurance. It also would have cut federal support for Medicaid.

This bill did keep some of the most popular parts of Obamacare, including protecting people with preexisting conditions and allowing people to stay on their parents’ health insurance up to the age of 26.

4. They said they didn’t have enough time

Here’s the thing: They’ve had seven years. SEVEN. YEARS. Republicans running at all levels have campaigned to repeal and replace Obamacare since before Obamacare was even in place. This is, by any account, a lot of time to come up with a viable plan.

Trump ran — and was elected — with the very specific promise to repeal and replace Obamacare within his first 100 days in office. Friday was Day 64 of the presidency, and they have already given up.

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To put it more in perspective, it took 187 legislative days to pass Obamacare. Only 17 legislative days lapsed before Trumpcare was dead in the water.

5. Obamacare will stay — for now

After a grueling 17 legislative days trying to come up with a politically viable health care plan, Ryan and Republicans have indicated that they’re done with health care until further notice. Even though it was one of their primary campaign promises and Obamacare is an alleged “disaster,” they believe it’s time to move on. The takeaway: Those currently utilizing the Affordable Care Act will remain covered, at least for the time being.

6. What it means for women

Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits — which are disproportionately relied upon by women — are still intact. These include doctors’ services, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription drug coverage, pregnancy and childbirth, mental health services, rehabilitative services and devices, lab work and more.

Preventative care services will also remain covered by all private plans, Medicaid expansion programs and Medicare. For women, this means continued access to breast and cervical cancer screening, osteoporosis screening, pregnancy-related services, well woman visits and contraception. It also means that women are still able to access birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood.

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While the GOP’s failed health care bill did not specifically address birth control coverage, the president and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price have both expressed their plans to advance “religious freedom,” meaning that there will likely be other attempts to limit access to contraception.

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence tweeted a photo of around two dozen men discussing the health care bill. This is what we’re dealing with: rooms full of old white men making decisions regarding women’s health.

Though health care may no longer be at the top of Republicans’ agenda, it is literally a life and death matter for so many women. Continued support of organizations like Planned Parenthood is crucial to make sure we don’t take steps backward.

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