Senate Republicans have formed a group that may have a major impact on health care in the United States, potentially impacting the more than 120 million adult women who live in the country.
Unfortunately, not one woman was chosen to be in that group.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) chose the 13-member group which includes the party’s top leaders, as well as three committee chairmen and a pair of the most conservative senators, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, The New York Times reported.
Here is a full list of the 13 senators working on the bill:
Tom Cotton of Arkansas
Cory Gardner of Colorado
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
Rob Portman of Ohio
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
John Thune of South Dakota
John Cornyn of Texas
Ted Cruz of Texas
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
Orrin Hatch of Utah
Mike Lee of Utah
Mike Enzi of Wyoming
John Barrasso of Wyoming
Republicans could have chosen any of the five GOP women senators like Maine's Susan Collins and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, who are both moderates. Additionally, Senate Republican leaders didn’t invite Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina who is their only black member.
“The leaders have the right to choose whomever they wish,” Collins said, according to the Times. “It doesn’t mean that I’m not going to work on health care. I’ve worked on health care for many years. I spent five years in state government overseeing the Bureau of Insurance many years ago, and I think I can bring some experience to the debate that will be helpful.”
Nevertheless, the list has not gone unnoticed.
"Women's health is a big part of this and women are a majority of the population, and their health interests deserve to be contemplated in any reform," Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said on NBC's Meet the Press.
A senior aide to McConnell told Reuters critics were getting "hung up on process" while losing sight of issues with Obamacare like higher costs and limited choices. "So you can get caught up in process, or you can focus on the actual reality.”
However, the decision to exclude women in the group may jeopardize the bill’s chances of passing. While the Senate is able pass any health care bill with Republican votes alone, they can only lose two votes.
“Well it doesn't look particularly enlightened and inclusive, does it?” New York Times Magazine staff writer Emily Bazelon told Refinery29. “Susan Collins in particular has worked on health care legislation. Are they writing her off? And what about Lisa Murkowski and Shelley Moore Capito, who have made their concerns about AHCA clear? Lose three and they're done.”
It’s worth knowing that the House bill would cut off federal funds for Planned Parenthood for a year and prevent federal tax credits from being used to purchase insurance that includes coverage of abortion, the Times reported.