Hidden provisions in the latest GOP senate healthcare bill, cuts in funding for programs aimed at preventing teen pregnancy and the impact on preventive care if more people are uninsured have many doctors worried about the country’s healthcare system.
The latest healthcare bill. A number of provisions are buried in the bill unveiled last week by Senate Republicans, the latest version of legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to The Los Angeles Times. The Better Care Reconciliation Act has some impacts the Senate GOP would rather people not know about, according to the article.
Among them is the elimination of birth control and women’s health screening requirements. The ACA required health plans to cover contraceptives and a range of preventive screenings without deductibles or co-pays.
The bill would also give Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price more power by placing control of funds proposed to moderate the costs to state of various repeals, including the cutback to Medicaid, in his hands, the article said.
While the bill provides $45 billion over 10 years to help fight the country’s opioid epidemic, that appropriation isn’t adequate, according to industry experts. In addition, as much as 40% of the treatment for those with opioid addictions was covered by Medicaid, which faces major cuts.
The American Academy of Pediatrics in a policy statement called on Congress not to cut Medicaid. The pediatricians’ group said the health bill will reverse progress in lowering the uninsured rate among children under 18, limiting access to healthcare during childhood.
Cuts to teen pregnancy programs. As it is, the Trump administration has already cut $213.6 million in funds for programs aimed at preventing teen pregnancies, as well as research at more than 80 healthcare institutions, according to Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. HHS has decided to end five-year grants awarded by the Obama administration designed to find ways to help teenagers make decisions that avoid unwanted pregnancies, the report said.
Eighty-one projects were awarded five-year grants in 2015 under HHS’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, but last week received annual grant award letters that shortened the project period from June 2020 to June 2018—cutting off two years of funding, which shocked the health professionals who run the programs. “We are just reeling. We’re not sure how we’ll adapt,” Jennifer Hettema, an associate research professor at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, which was finding ways to help doctors talk to Native American and Latino teens about avoiding pregnancy, told the publication.
Price and other top Trump appointees are opposed to federal funding for birth control and advocate abstinence to avoid teen pregnancies.
Worries about a lack of preventive care if people lose their health insurance. While President Trump has said he doesn’t want people “dying in the streets” for lack of healthcare, doctors’ groups worry people will die from chronic conditions, the major diseases in the U.S., according to ABC News. Preventive care and routine screening can help those at risk for health problems such as heart disease and cancer, which doctors fear will suffer if more people are uninsured and postpone care.