With a new administration calling the shots, there’s no denying major changes are coming your way. From the Women’s March on Washington to the #GrabYourWallet boycott, the nation has already seen some serious backlash since Trump’s inauguration. So, what exactly does it all mean for you?
From fake news to alternative facts, you’ve heard it all, which is why we’re breaking down one issue that’s been monopolizing the news cycle for months: health care. Unlike some political issues, health care is one reality nobody can ignore. Each and every individual is, or will be, personally affected by the decisions made by the government. So first, let’s talk basics of what we already know.
Shortly after being sworn into office, Trump issued the executive order to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. According to The Hill, the order aims to “ease the burden of Obamacare.” Interestingly enough, as the Obamacare repeal is in motion, the ACA is more popular than ever, with many Americans supporting the changes put into place during Obama’s time in office.
While the future of health care remains in flux, some changes are more expected than others. Here are eight that may be coming your way.
1. Accommodations for breastfeeding at work
For parents who return to work after they’ve had a baby, a workplace that accommodates new parents is an absolute necessity. While this seems like an obvious, and basic, standard that should exist across all industries, that all may change.
Under the ACA, there are laws to provide federal support for breastfeeding. In particular, the ACA called for “reasonable break time to express milk,” and “health insurance benefits to defray the costs associated with providing breast milk to infants, including coverage of breastfeeding education and supplies in non-grandfathered health insurance plans.” Without these laws in place, it may be nearly impossible to feed or pump with the privacy, and understanding, one would expect at their place of work.
2. Adults under the age of 26 may lose coverage under their parent’s health insurance plan
Bad news for adult children who’ve been looking forward to staying on their parent’s health insurance: This may not be reality for much longer. With the ACA, people were allowed to get or stay covered until they turned 26. For some, this stands to be a major change for people in their early 20s, and they could soon be kissing their parent’s insurance coverage goodbye. However, according to The Washington Post, Trump has said he actually likes this ACA provision, so there’s hope yet. Only time will tell, but this one might stay intact.
3. You may lose access to pregnancy services
This sounds harsh, but it’s important to understand just how this one works. Under the ACA, preexisting conditions are covered, whereas prior to it, they were not. Shockingly enough, pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition. Imagine that! Under Obamacare, insurance companies can’t deny someone coverage simply because they have a medical condition that began before they had insurance, but with a repeal, this has the potential to change.
What else you need to know about pre-existing conditions
If you have a preexisting condition, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or cancer, don’t worry too much yet. According to Time, some aspects of the ACA may stay intact, as the Republicans may only target parts of the law. “If the GOP successfully does this, as they intend, the pre-existing conditions provision would not be touched, and would basically stay in effect — until they manage to pass a replacement plan,” the publication writes. Exactly what that replacement plan entails, though, remains to be seen.
4. Medicare enrollees may lose free cancer screenings
Under the ACA, free preventative benefits for those enrolled in Medicare included screenings for heart disease, diabetes, and breast and colorectal cancers. CNN says under a full repeal of Obamacare, these benefits would disappear. Additionally, the cost for prescription drug coverage for senior citizens could go up. On the other hand, the changes may benefit higher-income enrollees, as they’d see less of a financial burden than they had with the ACA.
5. No more free birth control
One of the most talked about issues regarding the repeal of the ACA is, undoubtedly, the change that may be coming to birth control access. Under Obamacare, contraceptive services have been available free of charge, or with a copay under certain insurance companies.
According to The Atlantic, Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, Tom Price, is a “fierce opponent of abortion, the Affordable Care Act, and the law’s birth-control mandate.” More famously, Price made comments in 2012 that suggested “all women can afford birth control.” As most people are well aware by this point, however, millions of women have benefited from affordable or no-cost birth control under the ACA.
6. No more funding for NGOs offering abortion services
This was pretty much the shot heard around the world: As one of his very first orders of business, Trump signed the Mexico City Policy (surrounded by a handful of men in power), which was originally put in place by Reagan. Also known as the Global Gag Rule, the policy “bars international non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving U.S. government funding,” CNN reports.
Although funding did go to organizations that offered abortion services during the Obama administration, government funding never actually went directly to abortions themselves. With the Mexico City Policy back in place, no government aid will go to organizations that even discuss abortion as an option. Obviously, organizations like Planned Parenthood will take a huge hit in funding. This is especially bad news for the millions of people who depend on their services, which include everything from STD testing to post-abortion care.
7. Mental health services may no longer be covered
Under Obamacare, individual and employer insurance plans covered a variety of benefits for medication, maternity, and mental health. MentalHealth.gov says the ACA requires the majority of individual and small employer health insurance plans cover services having to do with mental health and substance use disorders. Depression screenings for adults and behavioral assessments for children are provided through the act at no additional cost. If repealed, access to these essential services could go away along with the ACA.
8. You could be denied services if they go against a professional’s moral code
Known as the “Conscience Clause,” a set of rules originally instated by the Bush administration could come back into play under Trump. The clause afforded health care professionals the right to opt out of medical services they were morally opposed to. For instance, a pro-life doctor didn’t have to take part in performing an abortion.
According to Kaiser Health News, “Many expect the rules to be reinstated in their original form.” These rules, however, faced a great amount of criticism. Because the rules are so vague, opponents argued they could apply to more than just abortion services, like refusing to provide birth control, HIV and AIDS treatment, and end-of-life care.
Although the exact terms remain to be seen, one thing’s for sure: The nation’s health care system is on the verge of a major overhaul.