The Senate’s Trumpcare Bill Just Got Worse for Women

Released on Thursday, the revised Senate Trumpcare bill is even worse for women.

Molly Adams

The major difference in the latest version of the Senate’s so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act lies between the lines of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s proposal that would allow insurers to offer inexpensive, bare-minimum plans that do not cover previously mandatory health benefits—like maternity care. To top this off, the latest version only furthers the war on women’s health by further slashing funding for Planned Parenthood and preventing insurance plans that offer abortion coverage from receiving any federal subsidies. 

What remains in place is the rolling back of Medicaid expansion and the capping on Medicaid spending, which will disproportionately impact elderly women, who make up two-thirds of Medicaid recipients. Medicaid also covers one in five women of reproductive age, providing them with safe and affordable access to basic reproductive care—such as birth control, mammograms and pap smears. Studies show that expansions in Medicaid have led to improvements in birth outcomes and child health, as 45 percent of the nearly 40 million births each year in the U.S. are covered under Medicaid.  

Despite high hopes for improvement, a handful of conservative and moderate Republican senators are struggling to back the latest Trumpcare billMaine Senator Susan Collins stated on Thursday that she would most likely vote against it. “It is very likely I will vote no on the motion to proceed,” she told reporters. “The only thing that could change that is if the CBO analysis that comes out Monday indicates that there would be far fewer changes in Medicaid than I believe.” Collins is not the only GOP lawmaker with concerns about Trumpcare. Dean Heller of Nevada, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have all also expressed significant concerns with the bill.

According to the CBO, the original BCRA would have resulted in $772 billion in cuts to Medicaid spending over 10 years, leading to 15 million enrollees cut from the program in less than a decade. “I do not think that we should rewrite an important, vital entitlement program without having extensive hearings and making sure we understand the implications,” Collins added.

This sentiment is growing in popularity outside congress as well. A new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 46 percent of Trump supports favor a bipartisan effort to improve Obamacare—a statistical tie with the 47 percent who would prefer to see Republicans continue to work on their own efforts to repeal and replace. Overall, 71 percent of the public (nearly 100 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of Independents), say they would like to see Republicans and Democrats working together to improve the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act has the support of a majority of Americans, as do its provisions to provide more equitable access to critical care for women.

It is unclear if this attempt to repeal and replace will become the second strike in the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back the gains millions of Americans made under the Affordable Care Act. How many strikes will it take? While we wait to find out, the fight to save health care for millions of Americans goes on.



Jessica Merino is a former Ms. editorial intern.