Washington, DC—The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) today released the following statement regarding the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote on the American Health Care Act:
“The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the nation’s largest professional organization for women’s health care physicians, denounces U.S. House passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This legislation turns back the clock on women’s health, and will threaten the health and well-being of America’s women and families. Our bottom line is simple: No one should be worse off than they are today.
“ACOG is the leading authority on women’s health and, for more than 65 years, the U.S. Congress has sought our moderate voice because of our steadfast commitment to ensuring public policy that is rooted in facts, science and evidence-based medicine. The facts are that cutting $880 billion out of the Medicaid program, eliminating Medicaid expansion, denying qualified providers the ability to offer Medicaid-covered primary and preventive care, allowing states to opt out of covering essential benefits including maternity care, and weakening protections for people with pre-existing conditions all lead to only one result: sicker patients and higher health care costs.
“This bill will not offer Americans more choice. Instead, it returns families to the days when having a child or facing a devastating diagnosis could easily mean bankruptcy.
“It harms pregnant women and babies by reverting to the years before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when a woman’s maternity and other essential coverage depended on what state she lived in—when only five states required maternity coverage, only 12 percent of individual market plans offered this coverage, and maternity care riders offered little real financial protection.
“By eliminating the Medicaid expansion program, the House has acted to decimate low-income women’s access to care, a move that will cause the uninsured rate to skyrocket. Under the ACA, the uninsured rate for women ages 18 to 64 fell from 19.3 percent to 10.8 percent between 2010 and 2015. The AHCA would also deny Medicaid coverage of primary and preventive health care provided at Planned Parenthood clinics, setting a dangerous precedent of allowing Congress to pick and choose among qualified providers. Finally, this bill would kick new moms off Medicaid if they don’t fulfill a newly established work requirement within eight weeks of giving birth.
“In addition, the House has voted to deny Americans' freedom and states' flexibility by increasing barriers to abortion care for women, restricting employers from offering plans with abortion coverage, and prohibiting states from allowing plans that offer abortion coverage on their exchanges. This is political interference in the practice of medicine.
“This legislation is an assault on women’s health and ACOG is extremely disappointed in the House of Representatives for passing this harmful legislation. We urge the U.S. Senate to reject the AHCA and instead focus on ways to improve our nation’s health and help reduce health care costs.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. www.acog.org