Written by Robin Marty
In 2010, Republicans swept the midterm elections on a vow to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, a series of insurance reforms designed to decrease the number of uninsured and underinsured Americans. Heading into the 2012 election, they are still clamoring for repeal, but have yet to come up with their own plan that would replace it.
With the Supreme Court deciding on the constitutionality of the ACA, and Republicans promising its total elimination, Americans — and especially women – are forced to take a serious look at what could happen if the law is overturned. And for women, the prospects are grim.
The Center for American Progress released a new report that outlines exactly what gains were made for women thanks to health care reform, and how much women would suffer if the Affordable Care Act were repealed.
[M]ore than 45 million women have already taken advantage of recommended preventive services, including mammograms, pap smears, prenatal care, well-baby care, and well-child care with no cost sharing such as co-pays and deductibles. Starting this August, millions more will be able to obtain contraception, annual well-woman care (a visit with a gynecologist), screening for gestational diabetes, breastfeeding counseling and supplies, and screening for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and the Human papillomavirus—again at no extra cost. In addition, women will no longer encounter discrimination in the health insurance market in the form of lost maternity coverage, higher premiums due to their gender, and denials of coverage for gender-related pre-existing conditions. Indeed, close to 9 million women will gain coverage for maternity care in the individual market starting in 2014. And provisions in the new health law that protect everyone will especially benefit women, who utilize the health care system the most.
Once more, we would be returned to an era where simply being female means paying a higher cost for insurance, where you are denied affordable maternity coverage — at the same time that Republican legislators want to take away your access to affordable birth control — and where losing your job would mean losing any ability to take care of your own health without bankrupting yourself.
And the Republican party is cheering it on.