The Republican healthcare plan: Bad medicine for women and the poor
© Greg Nash

The GOP view towards women’s health is a bit confusing.

The Senate bill, Better Care Reconciliation Act cuts funding to Planned Parenthood.

Eighty percent of Planned Parenthood’s work is preventing pregnancy. The bill further eliminates protections of essential health benefits which would ensure access to preventive health services including well woman care and contraception as well as maternity care.

Every single medical group agrees that TrumpCare is a disastrous plan. Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) laughed about prenatal care coverage because he cannot have a baby, therefore he does not understand why it should be covered.

ADVERTISEMENT
BCRA goes on to slash $800 billion from Medicaid, which covers almost half of the births in the country, and 40 percent of children in the country are covered by Medicaid.

 

We already know that Republicans would like to end all access to abortion. Now it seems they would like to end all access to pregnancy prevention. Worse, it seems they would like to end safe pregnancy care and care for the children that will result from lack of access to pregnancy prevention.

Lack of access to contraception and prenatal care will mean more special needs children. That is a fact. So they are creating a system that will ensure children that will need expensive specialty care and they are taking away coverage for it.

That is quite special.

As far as I can tell every single person alive today got here through a mother — for that reason alone we should cover maternity care. It is called a social contract.

We went through these arguments before passage of the Affordable Care Act — how quickly the 13 white men who designed the BCRA forgot. If women have access to affordable maternity care, and contraception without cost sharing, it is good for all.

Mr. Olson — What if I do not want to pay for your earlier heart attacks, nor your Viagra, nor your prostate disease?The whole idea of insurance is a risk pool. I’m sorry I have to explain that to you.

After seven years of hand wringing over Obamacare, to come back with a bill that deconstructs Medicaid and aims its arrows at women lays clear that the war on women never stopped.

Supercharged by a president who hurls insults over Twitter, the Republican party has discarded an allegiance to right to privacy and small government where women are concerned. For us, apparently the decisions over our bodies cannot be a private one between a woman and her physician — the one with the training — instead it apparently belongs to politicians.

The peril of this path awaits. BCRA will do harm. It is a bill that will kill. Instead we could look to solutions.

The answer to rising premiums and deductibles and out-of-reach prescription drug costs, is not to rip away coverage to the most vulnerable in our society.

For all its faults, ObamaCare was based on RomneyCare — the plan in place in Massachusetts at the time.

TrumpCare has no model to base itself after.

This is not American exceptionalism unless it is a race to the bottom.

We could look around the world and see that covering all citizens and reining in costs is achieved by single payer or some sort of government control.

That is achievable.

For many, particularly on the right, a single payer system in not palatable. So what if we were to form a hybrid system?

We know from all the data we have that preventive services save money. That seems like something we want everyone to have access to. It certainly seems appropriate that true emergencies and traumas be covered (since many in Congress seem to think that is how everyone has access to care anyway).

What if we expand Medicare to cover those services for everyone?

That would not raise the Medicare tax dramatically.

For the rest of care insurers could develop existing Medicare A advantage plans, which already sell across state lines. These could be tailored to different levels of need, much as Congress has been pulling their hair over.

There would need to be stipulations to allow insurance to remain affordable as it is in the rest of the world. It would have to go back to being not-for-profit. No more shareholders.

Caps on executive salaries and strict controls over what can be charged. While this may seem a difficult sell, it is better than eliminating care to our most vulnerable or the alternative destroying an entire industry — what the two extremes — far right and far left propose.

We would need to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices just as governments do in the rest of the world.

If pharmaceutical companies balk tell them to stop spending money on direct to consumer advertising. Why that is allowed is an anathema to me. The myth of high prices to pay for research has been exposed. They have had decades of record profits.

Lastly look at reimbursement appropriately — be consistent in imaging costs and ensure that primary care can stay viable given that it is the most cost effective. Stop the unfunded mandates and the plethora of prior authorizations for everything even generic medications.

Given the amount of training involved, why not trust physicians instead of burning them out?

We need consistency in pricing for high end technology and procedures. Families should not fear bankruptcy due to a medical condition.

Allowing Medicare to set a pricing standard will ensure this to occur.

It is time to remember that we can learn from others and yes we can make America great again.

Dr. Cathleen London is physician based in Maine who developed a cost-effective alternative to the standard EpiPen in response to skyrocketing prices. London has been an on-air contributor on Fox News and local television stations around the nation. Her healthcare innovations have been featured in the New York Times.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.