January 11, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) delivered a speech on the Senate floor today to announce her new push to fight against efforts to reverse what she described as “progress on women’s health care made under the Affordable Care Act”. Gillibrand filed an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Resolution that she hopes will result in preventing attempts to take away or roll back the coverage protections and access to care for women under the ACA.
Gillibrand says, that under the Affordable Care Act:
• Women can no longer be charged more just because of their gender.
• Health insurance companies can no longer use pregnancy as a pre-existing condition by which to deny women health coverage.
• Women can receive critical preventive care without co-pays, including contraceptive counseling and birth control, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and breastfeeding support and supplies.
• Health insurance companies can no longer discriminate against providers who provide reproductive health care benefits and services to women.
• Health insurance companies must include coverage for maternity care.
Text of Gillibrand’s Speech:
Mr. President, I rise to speak in support of Amendment Number 82, which would make it so that anyone in Congress trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act would not be allowed to touch women’s health care services.
I’ve been listening to my colleagues speak in this chamber about health care in this country, and after many hours, I am very disturbed by how little concern, how little empathy there seems to be for the health and safety of millions of American women.
We are barely a week into the new Congress, and my Republican colleagues have already made it clear that their most urgent priority this year is to take our country back to darker days, when women could be denied coverage and charged higher health care premiums, just because of their gender.
I am outraged by this, and I stand with the millions of American women and men who are outraged too.
The Affordable Care Act gave more women access to health care than our country has ever had before. In fact, 9.5 million more women now have access.
In my state alone, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, women can now have access to contraception care, cancer screenings, and mammograms.
Millions of women, who were pregnant or survived diseases like cancer, are able to keep seeing their doctors without fear of their health insurance being taken away by the insurance companies.
But this chamber doesn’t seem to care about any of that.
After years of talking about it, some of my colleagues now feel entitled to take this life-saving health care away from millions of women.
The election in November wasn’t about women’s health care. No one came to Congress with a mandate to take away women’s access to mammograms and cancer screenings.
But now they are a very big step closer to once again making it impossible for millions of American women to see a doctor when they need to, or to access the medicine and reproductive health care services they need to live healthy, productive lives.
And for some, the very real risk of bankruptcy rises when cancer or other life-threatening diseases strike.
We must stop them. The consequences are too real and too dangerous.
We should never go back to the days when insurance companies could tell pregnant women to go find someone else to insure them, because they thought pregnant women were less profitable for them.
We should never go back to the days when insurance companies could tell breast cancer survivors to get lost, because they thought cancer survivors would hurt their bottom lines.
We should never go back to the days when insurance companies could make women, and only women, pay more for their health insurance, just because of their gender.
We should not turn back the clock on women’s health.
My amendment would make it so that the Senate would be forbidden from directing the committees to cut funding from women’s health care services.
It would ensure that the women’s health protections in the Affordable Care Act are safe, and that they will continue to be safe going forward.
And it would protect the vital services, like disease screenings and comprehensive reproductive health care, that millions of New York women rely on.
Mr. President, if my colleagues destroy the Affordable Care Act, it will have real, direct, and painful consequences for millions of American women and their families.
It would be the ultimate overreach by Congress, and one that would take years to fix.
We must never allow these protections to be taken away from American women and their families, and I urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting this amendment.
I yield the floor.