Happy International Women’s Day! Today, people around the world celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. And while we celebrate that, this special day is also to check in with how women fare in gender parity.
And when it comes to healthcare, women aren’t doing so well.
It’s no question that, under the current administration, healthcare for low-income and elderly people and people with preexisting conditions stand to lose a lot when it comes to Republicans repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Women, in particular, have a lot to lose if the American Health Care Act (the House Republicans’ bill meant to replace the ACA) passes. Fun fact: over two-thirds of Medicaid recipients are women.
The truth is, Trumpcare is a threat to everyone, especially women.
Being that women still on average make 80 cents to every dollar a man makes; that women have necessary health expenses such as preventative care (like breast and cervical cancer screenings) and maternal and child care; and that many women require services like domestic violence screening and counseling—making healthcare less effective and more expensive is, to say the least, harmful to them.
The Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion therein, and services such as Planned Parenthood were designed to offset those health expenses which act as barriers to gender parity.
By rolling back women’s financial aid and support programs, that sends the message that Republicans are not interested in improving the U.S.’s maternal mortality rate, which is the highest in the industrialized world. Republicans claim there is no money to invest in these programs, yet the same bill includes $765 billion in tax cuts over ten years for the wealthy.
This isn’t fooling anyone. It’s also worth noting the fact that these cuts would disproportionately affect women of color.
According to a fact sheet produced by Protect Women’s Care, 31 percent of Black women and 27 percent of Hispanic women aged 15-44 were enrolled in Medicaid in 2015, compared to 16 percent of white women.
This KNPR feature explores and explains why black women are three times more likely than white women to die in childbirth in the U.S.
Violence against women comes in many forms. From overt abuse to covert policies that seek to dismantle policies and programs that are necessary gender parity.
Bottom line: We need legislators, judges and an administration that protect women’s access to affordable health care. Although AHCA failed in the Senate, the fight is not over. Republicans will return with attempts to gut Medicaid and other entitlement spending, and Trump and his administration will continue to pressure legislators, to say in public that junk insurance is in their best interest, and to nominate judges that vow to repeal Roe v. Wade.
So today, celebrate the accomplishments of women by standing up for their right to accessible and affordable healthcare.
You can read more about this issue by following the hashtag #PressForProgress on Twitter. Keep an eye out for the National Day of Action on the anniversary of the ACA’s passage, March 23rd!