Health Care Bill an ‘Assault on Moms and Families’
March 23, 2017
Statement from Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, CEO and Executive Director of MomsRising.org, a national online and on-the-ground organization of more than 1 million mothers and their families, on the updated version of the American Health Care Act
“In a callous attempt to win over the more extreme members of the conservative right, US House Republican leaders are reportedly adding several dangerous provisions that threaten the health and wellbeing of women and families to their health care bill. The American Health Care Act was already a terrible bill that would make health insurance less affordable, less accessible, and less comprehensive, taking coverage away from tens of millions of families and offering fewer protections at higher costs to those who still have health insurance. These provisions manage to make the legislation even more damaging and constitute an all-out assault on moms and families.
“With these changes, the American Health Care Act would remove the requirement for insurance providers to cover essential health benefits. These benefits are critical for the whole health of families and include services like maternity care, mental health services, preventive care, and prescription drug coverage.
“To make matters worse, in a dramatic departure from existing protections in the Family and Medical Leave Act, the bill would also allow states to require new mothers who rely on Medicaid for their insurance to find work just 60 days after giving birth, or risk losing their health coverage. These provisions would be devastating to families whose children are born prematurely or with other special health care needs: Mothers like Ann Marie, a MomsRising member in Massachusetts, whose daughter was born premature at 26 weeks and had to be hospitalized for two-and-a-half months due to a number of serious health conditions. Her family relied on Medicaid to pay their hospital bills. Because Medicaid didn’t require her to return to work so soon after their child was born, Ann Marie was able to be a present parent during this trying time, and her family was not thrown into financial crisis.
"We live in a country that often claims to worship mothers, but in truth, becoming a mother puts women at a tremendous life-long economic risk. A perfect case in point is the "Trump-care" bill that’s being voted on today. It's harmful and out of step with the modern world: While Canada, our neighbor to the north, has 52 weeks of paid family leave after a new baby arrives — and 177 countries have some form of paid family leave — in stark contrast, our country not only doesn’t have any national paid family leave, this "Trump-care" bill allows states to actively cut off new moms' access to health care if they aren’t working within nine weeks of giving birth. This is not how we lift families and build our economy. This is how we break our nation down.
“With these irresponsible, callous new provisions, the American Health Care Act is an even more dangerous step in the wrong direction for our country. It would threaten the wellbeing of women, communities of color, families, people who live in rural areas, and all those who struggle to pay for health coverage and care. Its enactment would be an absolute crisis for our nation, particularly for those who are in vulnerable communities, including: low-income families, people with disabilities, rural communities, and the elderly; with a compounding impact in Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American, and LGBTQ+ communities. The House must reject it.”