President Donald Trump, whose American Health Care Act includes a remarkable slew of preexisting conditions that predominantly affect women, has announced his commitment to honoring Women’s Health Week.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted the following statement from Trump on Mother’s Day:
In the letter, Trump lauded the advancements in health care science in recent decades (while failing to acknowledge that the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country, and that that rate is continuing to rise), before sharing his vague plans for improving women’s health, particularly maternal health care, and touting his own health care plan:
Ensuring affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare is critical to improving women’s health and ensuring that it fits their priorities at any stage of life. In particular, women should have access to quality prenatal, maternal, and newborn care. Under the current healthcare system, however, the lack of choice in health insurance and in healthcare providers, along with skyrocketing premium and out-of-pocket costs, are failing our citizens, our families, and, in particular, our women. Studies show that women are often the primary healthcare decision-maker for their family and they deserve better options.
The ACA repeal would also include defunding Planned Parenthood ― a health care organization that provides services to more than 2.5 million Americans annually. “The lack of choice in health insurance and in healthcare providers” that Trump references above will almost certainly be a problem for the estimated 390,000 low-income women who would no longer be able to access preventative health care services, like contraception and cancer screenings, if Trump’s health care plan were to pass in the Senate.
I am committed to working with Congress to help mothers — and fathers — have paid family leave so that childcare is accessible and affordable, and to invest in the comprehensive care that women receive at community health centers. Through these reforms, and my 2018 Presidential Budget, we will enable access to the critical healthcare services women need.
It’s a nice sentiment, sure, but much like the rest of his health care legislation, his maternity leave policy proposals have come up way too short for working women. In September 2016, when he announced his maternity leave plan, HuffPost’s Emily Peck wrote that, “The Trump scheme is really just a hazy fantasy in which white men drink scotch all day at the office while a woman at home tends to all the details of life.” Since being elected, his maternity leave policies have yet to evolve ― and women are paying attention and speaking out about his unfair policies.
The irony of Trump’s Women’s Health Week message being delivered on Mother’s Day was not overlooked, and many on Twitter were quick to point out the hypocrisy of those who voted for the AHCA, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.)
The AHCA has yet to move forward in the Senate, and lawmakers have said that many amendments will be made to the act before the Senate votes.