(PRESS RELEASE) — Yesterday the United States Senate Budget Committee voted to move forward on a tax bill that threatens the health and economic well-being of women and families. It includes provisions to repeal the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would rip coverage away from 13 million Americans and raise premiums by double digits. The bill also politicizes women’s health by inserting anti-abortion language into the tax code.
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“Repealing the individual mandate would have devastating consequences for millions of working and middle-class Americans and threaten the health and well-being of women who depend on the essential benefits and no-copay birth control provided under the ACA.
“This disgraceful bill is an affront to women at every level. It undermines health care by eliminating essential coverage while attacking women’s fundamental rights by inserting outrageous anti-abortion rhetoric into the federal tax code.
“The Senate should be working to create a bill that invests in the health of American families and communities. Instead, it has advanced a tax bill that punishes the most vulnerable and threatens the stability of our health care system itself.”
The bill would allow an "unborn child" to be designated as a beneficiary of a 529 college savings plan, despite the fact that individuals can already open a 529 plan in their own name for future children. This unnecessary language appears to be a strategic effort to advance an anti-abortion agenda by embedding in statute a political definition of "unborn child."
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) stands as one of the most important legislative advancements for women’s health in decades. Under the ACA, maternity care became an essential health benefit and over 62.4 million women have gained guaranteed coverage of preventive services without co-pays, including birth control. In 2016, 6.8 million women and girls enrolled in marketplace health plans, many of them using tax credits and subsidies to make the comprehensive coverage affordable.