The AHCA will make you sick with despair

In case you’ve been hiding under your bed lately—we would completely understand if you were—the terrible U.S. House of Representatives passed the terrible American Health Care Act (AHCA) “replacement” for Obamacare, and then reveled in its terribleness. As has been duly noted elsewhere, the bill practically makes being a woman a pre-existing condition, and creates double jeopardy for women in the 45-70sh range.

But it ain’t law yet. The bill heads to the Senate shortly, where it could be killed. Or, it could become even more terrible. If any of these people are your senators, give them a call if you are concerned.

Some easy-to-understand rundowns of the bill are here and here and here. For midlife women, key provisions include higher rates for a terrible, long list of pre-existing conditions; lower subsidies and tax credits that will make insurance terribly unaffordable for many women; terribly higher insurance rates for older people; and terrible Medicaid cuts. In short, the AHCA will make individual healthcare insurance much less affordable or completely out of reach for millions of people—and midlife women will comprise much of that group.

For instance, As Miz Maude posted a few weeks ago, the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act/Obamare care was especially critical for women between the ages of 55 and 64. The American Health Care Act reduces federal funding for Medicaid, meaning states would ultimately need to reduce eligibility, curtail benefits or cut provider payments (which would probably reduce the number of physicians accepting Medicaid).

Higher rates or insurance denials for pre-existing conditions also could affect midlife women disproportionately. One reason is that some of the pre-existing conditions under AHCA exclusively or primarily affect women, including multiple sclerosis, major depression, C-section, hysterectomy, migraines and seasonal affective disorder. By the time you reach age 45, it’s quite possible you’ve had at least one of these conditions.

Bottom line? The AHCA fails to address the fundamental problem: what is the best way to finance healthcare? The only people who like insurance are insurance companies, so why are we stuck on insurance as the only way to pay?

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