A GOP Senator Explains Why Men Should Pay For Maternity Care

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Although the Senate vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act has been postponed, the debate on the bill rages on. One ongoing discussion among GOP lawmakers centers on maternity care — specifically, whether men should pay for it if they don't directly benefit from it. On Wednesday, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) responded that maternity coverage is important for men, too, since, he said, "As best as I can tell, women don't get pregnant without sperm."

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Cassidy argued:

Yes, you want cheaper plans, absolutely. Unless you have a common risk pool, you end up with policies that don't cover maternity.As best as I can tell, women don't get pregnant without sperm.

The opinion is a departure from some of Cassidy's colleagues. Other Republicans have suggested that men shouldn't have to pay for services that they wouldn't use, like maternity care. Back in May, Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) made headlines when he asked why men should have to pay for prenatal care.

But Cassidy reminded his colleagues that men do in fact need maternity care, because they are a part of the maternity process.

Some Republicans have argued for doing away with the requirement that health care plans include essential health benefits to lower costs. Sen. Ted Cruz told The Washington Post that these cheaper plans that provide less coverage would allow more healthy people to buy in.

Senate Republicans introduced the BCRA on June 22 to widespread criticism. The GOP bill would phase out Medicaid expansion; implement a six-month waiting period for those whose coverage lapses more than 63 days; provide smaller subsidies for people to buy insurance; allow states to opt out of ACA-mandated essential health benefits; cut taxes for the wealthy; and defund Planned Parenthood for a year.

At least nine Republican Senators have voiced their opposition to the bill for various reasons. Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, Dean Heller, Susan Collins, Jerry Moran, Shelley Moore Capito, and Rob Portman have all made public statements against the BCRA.

Because Senate Republicans need at least 50 "yes" votes to pass the bill, and only have 52 Republicans in the Senate, they can only afford to have two Senators oppose the bill when it comes time to vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell postponed the vote that was originally intended for Thursday after support for the legislation plummeted among Republicans.

The Senate will break for the holiday weekend and likely pick up negotiations when they return to put a revised bill to a vote sometime in July.