So, late last night, the Senate took their first step toward breaking down the Affordable Care Act (AKA ‘Obamacare’) before Donald Trump officially takes office on January 20th.
They voted against keeping their (currently in place) healthcare coverage that funds contraceptives.
Democratic senators tried to introduce amendments to keep in place popular provisions of the act if the law does get repealed but the Republicans senate party all voted against these.
In what can only be described as something you’d expect out of an episode of Black Mirror, the seven-hour talk was a complete political farce.
The amendment that the Republican senate struck down, and that’s particularly striking a chord with women, was the one that meant insurance companies had to also cover the cost of contraception. This means that if Obamacare is eventually revoked, around 55 million American women won’t have copay support for any form of birth control.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to state: ‘If my colleagues destroy the Affordable Care Act, it will have real, direct, and painful consequences for millions of American women and their families.’ Her suggested amendment wanted to ensure that women weren’t charged more than men for healthcare (simply because of their gender) and that insurance companies couldn’t deny women cover on the basis of pregnancy being a ‘pre-existing condition.’ She argued that women should be able to receive birth control and mammograms for free and that insurance companies should have to cover maternity care.
Sounds sensible, right? Well, her amendment got voted down.
And when the Senate was asked to approve a new budget blueprint that would allow for Obamacare to be repealed, the vote was 51 to 48 yes. When Senate Elizabeth Warren went to vote, she shouted, ‘On behalf of the Republicans and Democrats who worked for a decade in Massachusetts to bring health care to 97 percent of our people, I vote no.’
Seeing as this new budget was passed, it will now go to the House and it’s expected to be approved later today, before the repeal, stripping Americans of essential healthcare benefits, will take place over the next few weeks or months.