feature image Copyright Jenny Warburg.
At 1:30 in the morning today, the Senate voted in a 51-48 decision to instruct House and Senate committees to repeal the Affordable Care Act as part of a budget blueprint resolution. Amendments protecting some of the key aspects of President Obama’s historic healthcare program—were all struck down by Republicans during the all-night “vote-a-rama.” The bill will go to the House for a vote as early as Friday.
Over 20 million people in the U.S. are covered under the ACA, and coverage for those who were previously insured has expanded under the law. 6.8 million women and girls found health care plans through the ACA’s marketplace in 2016 alone, and the rate of uninsured women ages 18 to 64 has decreased 44 percent since 2010. Before the ACA, sexism was embedded in the health insurance industry—and women’s health suffered as a result.
Women stand to lose access to critical services if the ACA is repealed in full. Here’s just ten benefits from the law that the GOP has put on the chopping block.
The GOP plans to proceed with a full-scale ACA repeal primarily through a reconciliation bill, which prevents Democrats from fillibustering the decision and would mean they need only 51 votes of approval to dismantle the program. In the same legislation, they plan to defund Planned Parenthood.
All of these measures are expected to move through the Republican-controlled Congress and be signed into law by President-Elect Donald Trump, who promised at a press conference this week to uphold his campaign promise to repeal and replace the ACA. At his side in this endeavor is his proposed Secretary of Health and Human Services—the notoriously anti-Obamacare and anti-woman Rep. Tom Price.
Breaking with decorum and tradition, Senate Democrats used their votes to stage small acts of protest against this morning’s decision. “For all those with pre-existing conditions,” Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) declared during her vote, “I stand on prosthetic legs to vote no!” Al Franken (Minn.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.) joined in voicing their objections during the vote, despite procedural rules which dictate that legislators cannot debate during a final vote.
Republicans claim that Trump’s electoral college win gives them a “public mandate” to move forward with their plan to dismantle the reforms that were rolled into the ACA, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Hillary Clinton made upholding and improving the ACA a central theme in her campaign—and won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.
The ACA is also one of the many reasons the Feminist Majority Foundation and other women’s organizations will be turning out on January 21 for marches in D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco and a host of other cities around the nation—and the world. March in a feminist delegation next weekend and make yourself heard.
Carmen Rios is the Digital Editor at Ms., Managing Editor of Argot Magazine, Feminism Editor at Autostraddle and a Contributing Writer at Everyday Feminism. Her work has also appeared at BuzzFeed, MEL, Mic, BITCH, and Feministing. She stays very zen in L.A. traffic. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.