HuffPo Op-Ed: How Repealing The Affordable Care Act Threatens Women, Families And Health

Ellen Olshansky

Co-authored by Dr. Diana Taylor, professor emerita, University of California, San Francisco; Dr. Ellen F. Olshansky, women’s health nurse practitioner, and professor and chair, University of Southern California; Dr. Versie Johnson Mallard, women’s health nurse practitioner and Association of Reproductive Health board member; Dr. Nancy Fugate Woods, professor and dean emeritus, University of Washington; Dr. Monica R. McLemore, assistant professor, University of California, San Francisco, and research scientist with Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal is in the hands of the Senate in the form of recent ACA Repeal proposals (that started with the Better Care Reconciliation Act [BCRA]). Repealing the ACA would be devastating for the health and economic security of women and families, and will hinder the ability of the U.S. nursing workforce to provide quality care to our patients.

As registered nurses, health care providers, researchers, and educators on women’s health, we are concerned that the Senate has little knowledge of (at best) or care for (at worst) the bill’s impact on women, their families or the health care system (much like the House of Representative’s bill to repeal the ACA, which was passed on May 4, 2017). Thus, the purpose of this post is to spell out what will happen to women, families, and health care providers, if the ACA is repealed.

Loss of Insurance

First and foremost, any ACA Repeal proposal would strip coverage from millions of women and families. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 22 million people would lose coverage over the next 10 years, if the ACA is repealed with the likes of the BCRA. By repealing the ACA’s premium and cost-sharing subsidies and imposing age-based tax credits, and dismantling the Medicaid program, the BCRA and other ACA-repeal bills would make it more difficult for low-income women and families to afford health coverage as well as for older women who would see rising costs.

In 2016, 6.8 million women and girls enrolled in health plans through the health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. Because of the ACA, in the majority of states, more than 80% of women of color ages 18-64 are now insured. The BCRA would roll back these important advances, making it harder for women and their families – particularly low-income women and women of color – to afford necessary health coverage and get the care they need.

Read more in Huffington Post.