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U.S. House Passes Republican Healthcare Bill, Group Says It Will Disproportionately Impact Women of Color

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The American Healthcare Act, largely supported by both President Donald Trump and Republicans, narrowly won passage in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday, by a 217-213 vote.

The bill begins the process of repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, although it may still face changes when it reaches the U.S. Senate floor, reports said.

In its current state, the bill reportedly benefits high-income earners, large employers, and upper-middle class individuals without pre-existing conditions, while allowing states to roll back Medicaid expansions for low-income earners, and increase costs for older adults and individuals with pre-existing conditions, like pregnancy and cancer.

President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan attempted to pass a similar bill in March, but pulled the legislation from the House floor due to a lack of support from GOP members.

Recently, Trump and Ryan garnered support for the new bill by adding a last-minute provision to provide $8 billion in funds for states to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions who are unable to find affordable coverage. However, critics of the bill say it’s not nearly enough money to guarantee coverage.

In fact, according to the National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, women of color will be hit hardest by the bill’s failure to cover preventive services like cancer screenings and reproductive health care services.

The group released the following statement regarding the matter Thursday:

“The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is an abomination under which an estimated 24 million people will lose health care coverage. Black women will be hit hardest. The health care bill would eliminate coverage for preventive services like cancer screenings, and it would jeopardize our access to reproductive health care services including contraception, STI testing and treatment, sexual health counseling and abortion. By decimating Medicaid, the AHCA will effectively take away health care from millions of low-income women, disproportionately impacting women of color. 

Under the AHCA, women with preexisting conditions are targeted for outrageous premiums. Shockingly, the AHCA leaves states open to designate rape, domestic violence, Caesarian sections and postpartum depression as preexisting conditions. The AHCA would not be a temporary setback; it will imperil Black women’s and women of color’s health, rights and economic security in the long term. This health care bill is a blatant attack on reproductive justice. In Our Own Voice calls on our senators to preserve access to health care for all people, of all races, genders and experiences.”

In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national reproductive justice organization focused on lifting up the voices of Black women at the national and regional levels in an ongoing policy fight to secure reproductive justice for all women and girls, the group said.

The organization’s strategic partners include Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc. SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, Althea Center and Women With A Vision.

Visit http://blackrj.org/for additional information regarding the group, and visit http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/04/politics/house-health-care-vote/index.html to see how each member of the House voted.

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