On Thursday, House Republicans successfully took the first formal step toward repealing Obamacare by passing the American Health Care Act with a majority vote. While the ins and outs of health care reform can be complex, one thing is abundantly clear: The GOP health care plan is really horrible for women. Specifically, the AHCA harms women's reproductive rights by potentially making women pay more for pretty much any decision they choose to make regarding pregnancy, sex, and contraception.
In particular, the MacArthur Meadows Amendment to the bill makes it legal for states to apply for waivers that allow them to opt-out of the Obamacare policy that required insurance companies cover patients with pre-existing conditions. This means that, if the bill is enacted, insurance companies can ultimately force patients to pay more based on their health histories.
Unfortunately, the GOP pretty much considers being a woman a pre-existing condition. Many of the "illnesses" on the GOP's list of pre-existing conditions are almost exclusively gender-specific, like postpartum depression and cesarean sections. The AHCA would also allow states to opt-out of requiring that insurance plans provide "essential care benefits," a list of treatments and services that Obamacare deemed non-negotiable. That list includes birth control. Apparently, the word "essential" wasn't enough to convince House Republicans that women depend on these services.