Most of you know by now that the House narrowly approved the American Health Care Act (ACHA) by a vote of 217-213. No Democrats voted for the bill and 20 Republicans broke rank and voted against the bill. The bill's future is less certain in the Senate where it will almost certainly be modified. While this represents a legislative victory for the Trump administration it is by no means an indication that the bill is sure to pass.
A true estimate of what this bill would cost is lacking. On first glance there are some savings, but a lifecycle accounting by the Congressional Budget Office has yet to be done. For example, those that lose their insurance under this new bill will cost the government less for their insurance but perhaps more in the long run due to the uncovered care that they receive in emergency rooms.
What is this likely to mean to you? Certain people who have employer sponsored insurance could have lifetime limits on their coverage. Plans may be able to be purchased which exclude mental health or maternity care. The American Healthcare Act will cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood delivers reproductive health care and other services to 2.5 million people annually. Pre-existing conditions may come back into play. Rape and domestic violence are considered preexisting conditions and thus care for those problems may not be covered under the ACHA.
Aside from the ACHA, a new executive order allows organizations to avoid the contraceptive mandate currently in place through Obamacare.
The legislative chair of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology Dr. Leah Kaufman has written that this new AHCA is a particular disaster for women, citing astronomical costs for insurance that would cover women’s concerns such as pregnancy or breast cancer.
Trump has named Theresa Manning as deputy assistant secretary for population affairs for the Department of Health and Human services. Ms. Manning is a former anti-abortion lobbyist for the National Right to Life committee and opposed both abortion and birth control. She will be responsible for supervising the Title X program which administers contraception, paps and preventive health services for low income women. Manning is infamous for her statements that abortion causes breast cancer, and that contraception doesn’t work.
In the medical news department, research presented at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) indicated that babies exposed to opioids in the womb are more likely to be in need special education services.
In the good news department, yoga appears to relieve menstrual cramps and PMS. A review analysis of 15 different studies reveals that a regular yoga practice is associated with reduced pain and PMS with periods.
Unfortunately, troubling policy news dominated this week. But Science marches on. Stay tuned for more breaking news from the world of Obstetrics and Gynecology. And by all means, contact your elected officials with your views.