Trumpcare is Bad for Women’s Health

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), or Trumpcare, doesn’t seem to care for women’s health. The bill—which was narrowly passed by the House of Representatives on May 4th—allows states to withdraw from providing essential health benefits, which includes maternity and preventive care.

Under Obamacare, all insurance plans are required to provide ten essential health benefits. This provision protects patients—it mandates insurance companies to cover the costs of important care, while also preventing them from selling barebones coverage to consumers. However, as the AHCA/Trumpcare permits states to waive coverage of essential health benefits, the cost of care will shift from insurance company to the patient. And, patients will be forced to pick up a huge tab out of pocket. This will disproportionately affect women who, without coverage, will have to pay high prices for treatment that’s vital to their health, including birth control, cancer screenings, and routine vaccines.

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Fortunately, the AHCA/Trumpcare isn’t the law yet. But imagine just how much women will potentially have to pay under its provisions! Amino, a healthcare transparency company, looked through their database of nine billion health insurance claims to uncover the astronomically high prices women patients may have to pay under the AHCA. Here’s a summary:

  • About $1,000 for an intrauterine device (IUD). IUDs provide long-lasting birth control. Depending on the type, they need to be replaced every three to 10 years.
  • $4,000 for tubal ligation, often referred to as getting your “tubes tied.” About 25% of women using contraception choose tubal ligation.
  • About $250 for a standard mammogram to screen for breast cancer.
  • About $1,500 for a standard colonoscopy, which screens for colon cancer. It is required every 5 or 10 years for men and women over age 50.
  • Just over $200 for a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer, which women between ages 21 and 65 are recommended to get every three years.
  • More than $300 for a one dose of the HPV vaccine. The vaccine helps prevent cervical cancer, and 2-3 doses are required to complete the schedule.

 

The AHCA’s flaws are well-documented. It’s treatment of women’s health is an absolute travesty. One would think that a nation’s health care would benefit the health of its people. This isn’t the case for the AHCA. It perpetuates the disenfranchisement of women by making it lawful to charge them unaffordable prices for necessary health care. Trumpcare doesn’t value health. It values big businesses and insurance companies, who will save money from not spending on care that people need. That’s a shame.

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Imaz Athar

Imaz Athar is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, double majoring in Neuroscience and Sociology. He aspires to become a physician and plans on attending medical school in Fall 2017. Imaz fell in love with the art of writing at a young age and is currently the Publisher of Pitt's undergraduate-run science magazine The Pitt Pulse. When he's not writing or keeping up with classes, Imaz enjoys running, playing basketball, watching Empire, singing (in the shower), and listening to all kinds of music.