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Proposed Health Care Repeal Bill Harmful to Women

The House is scheduled to vote on the Patients’ Rights Repeal Act that if passed would have particularly negative consequences for women. The bill is unlikely to come up for a vote in the Senate, which has a Democratic majority. The Feminist Majority Foundation and other women’s rights groups, including the National Partnership for Women and Families and Emily’s List, have expressed their outrage at the proposed repeal bill.

Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) explained, “Health care reform was a major victory for women and any attempt to repeal or defund it is simply unfair to our daughters, our mothers, and our grandmothers. It took us decades to finally make it illegal for insurance companies to charge women 48 percent higher premiums just for being a woman and to stop the egregious practice of discrimination against domestic violence victims.”

Currently under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare recipients no longer have to share costs for preventive care including mammograms, cancer screenings, annual physicals and immunizations. Other provisions will begin to close the so-called “doughnut hole,” or gap between the initial coverage limit and the threshold for receiving catastrophic coverage. In 2010, young people were permitted to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26 unless they have other coverage.

Health and Human Services stated in a press release yesterday that nearly 130 million non-elderly Americans who have preexisting conditions could lose coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office indicated that the Patients’ Rights Repeal Act would increase the deficit by $230 billion over the next ten years.

President Obama signed the final version of the Affordable Care Act in March. If the law is not repealed, it would eventually add coverage for 32 million people.

Sources:

CNN 1/19/11; NPR 1/19/11; New York Times 1/18/11; Statement of Louise Slaughter 1/18/11; National Partnership for Women and Families 1/18/11; Emily's List 1/18/11; Health and Human Services Press Release 1/18/11