My Body Is Not A Pre-Existing Condition

Under Trumpcare, your vagina is going to cost you.

Last week, House Republicans voted to pass the American Health Care Act, aka Trumpcare, which is ironic since this legislation doesn’t seem to give any particular fuck about anyone. This bill is an unduly reversal of many of the hard-won protections of Obamacare, particularly for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions– you know, the people who need health care the most and Trump swore up, down and sideways to protect. But there’s a certain group of people, 50.8% of the country to be exact, for whom this bill could prove particularly disastrous: women.

Grab Them by The Pussy Julia Reiss Luis Nieto Dickens

© Luis Nieto Dickens/HEREYOUARE

Let’s get one thing straight, this isn’t just a bill, it’s a legislative pussy grab. If it hasn’t become overwhelmingly apparent, this administration, and perhaps the entire Republican Party, hates women. Sure, it might not always be a Mike Huckabee-esque, pro-active hate. For some, it’s more of a passive criminal negligence, like for the Republican lawmakers who didn’t even bother to read the fucking bill before passing it through the mother fucking House. And if all these F-bombs are starting to offend you, I sincerely hope you’re just as offended by the all the ways AHCA throws women under the Access Hollywood bus.

In effect, Trumpcare might as well be a rape tax

In honor of the Pussy Grabber in Chief, let’s start with rape. Yes, rape. For the lawmakers that bothered to read the American Health Care Act, it was probably hard to miss the fact that it revived insurance companies’ ability to charge survivors of sexual assault more for coverage– a practice Obamacare had quite rightly outlawed. But now, injuries and psychological disturbances sustained during an assault may be considered pre-existing conditions. See, thanks to AHCA’s MacArthur-Meadows Amendment, states would be able to apply for waivers that would allow insurance companies to raise premiums based on medical history. Oh, and states don’t even have to be actively granted the waiver, so long as they aren’t explicitly denied within 60-days of notifying the Department of Health and Human Services. In effect, Trumpcare might as well be a rape tax. And did I mention that it poses the same threat to survivors of domestic violence too? Classy.

Pre-Existing Condition Julia Reiss Luis Nieto Dickens

© Luis Nieto Dickens/HEREYOUARE

The implications of this kind of coverage bias aren’t just financial. This kind of policy incentivizes women NOT to report their assaults and reinforces rape culture. When you consider the fact that rape is already under-reported by an estimated 70% in the U.S., adding a higher insurance premium to injury certainly isn’t going to encourage women to come forward. But say you’re not one of the 1 in 6 women who’s never been (or at least reported) a rape or attempted rape, this still affects you. Whether you want kids someday, have kids, are pregnant, or don’t want kids at all, this affects you. If you have breasts, this affects you. If you are female, this affects you.

At its core, AHCA is not about health care at all, it’s a political statement

Under Trumpcare, pregnancy, post-partum depression and Caesarean sections could all be considered pre-existing conditions by insurers. What’s more? Maternity leave, abortion, birth control medication, cancer screening, mammograms and STD testing are all on the chopping block. And it’s fucking sneaky because it’s not by outright denying these services that Trumpcare makes it basically impossible for women to get the care they need. For example, the AHCA allows states to rewrite what used to be deemed “essential health benefits” under Obacamare, which include things like maternity leave, but also prescription drugs and mental health services. Trumpcare also effectively defunds Planned Parenthood for one year by blocking the organization from receiving any Medicaid reimbursements unless its clinics stop offering abortions. (For the record, abortions contribute a measly 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services.) At its core, AHCA is not about health care at all, it’s a political statement in favor of an agenda that not only doesn’t respect women, but makes them slaves to their own biology and slaves in society.

Whether it’s by pricing women out of basic and essential health care services or rendering them inaccessible all together, Trumpcare does everything to disempower women from having choices when it comes to their bodies, their health, and ultimately their lives.

Pre-Existing Condition Julia Reiss Luis Nieto Dickens

© Luis Nieto Dickens/HEREYOUARE

With policy like this, you don’t need to overturn Roe v. Wade. And for what? To line the pockets of the upper echelons of society with a fat tax cut they don’t need? (Because where else do you think that money’s coming from?) Someone please explain to me how trickledown economics gets a rape victim the treatment she needs, or solves an unwanted pregnancy because a woman couldn’t afford birth control, or treats cervical cancer that might have been caught earlier, had she had access to preventative screening at Planned Parenthood through Medicaid. Spoiler: it doesn’t.

And if you’re reading this over un petit café at a brasserie in Paris, asking yourself, “What le fuck is wrong with Americans?” there is a silver lining: the United States Senate. Despite the congratulatory circle jerk that went down in the White House Rose Garden– Paul Ryan’s hand must be raw from all that tugging– AHCA is expected to undergo massive revisions, if not die all together, before the Senate can vote on it. But the fact that Trumpcare even got this far is cause for alarm. Even AHCA fails, the fact that House Republicans could so blithely support this type of egregious institutionalized misogyny should give every American pause to consider the values of the Trump administration and the entire Republican Party.

Julia Reiss is a Los Angeles-born writer and humorist alive and mostly well in New York City.
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