Trump's Women's Health Week Statement Is Hypocritical, To Say The Least
As millions of Americans celebrated Mother's Day on Sunday, the Trump administration released a statement celebrating Women's Health Week, a campaign created and led by the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health for the purpose of encouraging women to "make their health a priority" and take concrete steps to address health concerns. Trump's statement includes several women-friendly promises. Too bad they're all completely at odds with what he and other Republican legislators are pushing in their Obamacare repeal plan.
"Ensuring affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare is critical to improving women’s health and ensuring that it fits their priorities at any stage of life. In particular, women should have access to quality prenatal, maternal, and newborn care," reads the statement. It then goes on to criticize the currently-in-place Affordable Care Act for failing to deliver women these services at affordable and accessible rates.
Yet the AHCA would dismantle the Obama-era federal policy requiring insurers to cover pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care in their insurance plans. Under the law Republicans are proposing, states would have the option to remove this requirement from insurers, meaning women in such states would be forced to purchase more expensive plans. For those unable to afford such plans, it would mean going without insurance at all.
Furthermore, the AHCA would make significant cuts to Medicaid, which pays for close nearly half of U.S. births, according to a 2013 report. The bill would also revoke federal funds from Planned Parenthood for one year, which the Government Accountability Office calculates would result in the loss of health care for roughly 390,000 women and reduced preventive care for an estimated 650,000.
Trump's Sunday statement also included his pledge of being "committed to working with Congress to help mothers — and fathers — have paid family leave so that childcare is accessible and affordable." While President Trump and his daughter Ivanka have both publicly expressed support for paid family leave during, and after, the 2016 election, the plan they've so far suggested fails in several ways: It only promises six weeks of paid leave, which disregards low-income parents and women who may take longer to recover or experience health complications post-pregnancy; it would only provide paid leave for mothers and exclude fathers; and only married women would be granted these benefits.
The final promise in the president's latest statement is his commitment "to invest in the comprehensive care that women receive at community health centers." Republicans have repeatedly promised to redirect the funding they would strip from Planned Parenthood to federally qualified community health centers. The problem is that there are an insufficient amount of such centers out there to take on Planned Parenthood's load — a New York Times report states that one in five counties currently served by Planned Parenthood don't have qualified community health centers. Additionally, since most of these centers do not specialize in women's health care as Planned Parenthood does, they would not be equipped to provide the same services at the same rate.
Given all the concrete details of President Trump's plans, his new statement is nothing but lip service.