Repealing critical sections of the Affordable Care Act, which President-elect Donald Trump threatened to various degrees throughout his campaign, would leave 20 million Americans without insurance coverage. Recent studies show the huge risks women face should it be repealed.
According to a 2010 report from the National Women’s Law Center, up to 92 percent of companies on the individual insurance market used gender rating, which essentially enabled insurers to charge women more for the same health services men received. Due to this practice, women on average spent $1 billion more than men per year on health insurance.
“Gender rating is discrimination, pure and simple,” VP for productive rights at The National Women’s Law Center Gretchen Borchelt told HuffPost Rise.
Some companies categorized pregnancy, as well as being a survivor of domestic violence or rape, as pre-existing conditions, which would have allowed them to deny a woman coverage. According to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, since the ACA was enacted, companies can no longer deny coverage to women with such conditions.
“Insurance companies basically treated being a woman as a pre-existing condition,” Borchelt said. “Obamacare pretty much got rid of that altogether.”
“It’s really changed the entire landscape and I think that we’re still seeing the benefit of that played out in the last few years,” Borchelt continued.
Under the ACA, preventative services like mammograms, cancer screenings and birth control are now covered “without additional cost to the individual,” Borchelt said. If Congress does in fact repeal the ACA, per Trump’s recent statements, the future of women’s health care remains unclear.
Despite the numerous benefits of the law, public opinion towards the ACA remains mixed. Borchelt said that many people who benefit from it may not understand how transformative the law is.
“You may not realize that you’re getting your preventive service without cost-sharing because of Obamacare,” Borchelt said. “You may not realize that the reason you’re able to access that maternity care is because of Obamacare. But if that were to go away, you would realize that very quickly.”
This video was produced by Rebecca Halperin, shot by Johnny Coughlin and Mike Ciecierski and edited by Holly Buechel and Chai Dingari.