House Republicans passed their Obamacare replacement after a second try Thursday. Dubbed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), not to be confused with the Affordable Care Act we know as Obamacare, the GOP's health care bill highlights the party's hypocrisy when it comes to protecting "innocent" lives.
Pro-life Republicans in Congress are hell-bent on protecting unborn fetuses, but not American children and adults already alive. Their health care proposal (if passed in the Senate) would allow states to scrap certain essential health benefits, meaning insurance providers wouldn't have to cover services such as pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care. It would also give states with federal waivers the green light to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for insurance.
Along with other medical conditions diagnosed and treated prior to seeking a new insurance plan, sexual assault, domestic violence, and c-sections would be classified as pre-existing conditions under AHCA, meaning assault survivors and new mothers could be charged exorbitant rates. According to the Center for American Progress, premiums could increase by $17,000 for people with the pre-existing condition of being pregnant.
These policies come from a political party that wants to ban abortion at 20 weeks (or even sooner), give fetuses the same rights as living people, and classify abortion as child abuse. For years, conservative politicians have advocated for expanding the rights of the unborn while simultaneously pushing policies aimed at making it more difficult and more expensive for many Americans to get basic health care.
You can't call yourself "pro-life" when you don't care about protecting those already alive.
The same hypocrisy is evident in Republican politicians' proposals to cut funding for programs such as food stamps, public housing, and early childhood education, all of which disproportionately help low-income single mothers (as families led by single moms are more likely to live below the poverty line, and 60% of kids in single-mother homes are impoverished). Studies show the majority of women who seek abortions are poor, and the GOP's policies consistently encourage them to carry their pregnancies to term, but don't offer help when a poverty-stricken woman actually has a baby. The party seemingly cares more about protecting unborn fetuses than babies born to low-income mothers.
It also seems to care more about unborn fetuses than Americans who have been alive for many years. On top of making it more difficult for people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance, AHCA would cut federal funding to expand Medicaid, essentially stopping previous efforts to insure more low-income and elderly Americans. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 14 million fewer people would be on Medicaid after a decade under AHCA.
The argument that pro-lifers should focus on helping living people isn't new, but Republicans' current health care bill proves just how little they care about protecting the majority of Americans. Under the law, fetuses don't have human rights — but living people do. Politicians should focus on the latter.