Statement of Stacey D. Stewart, President, March of Dimes on House Consideration of the MacArthur Amendment to the American Health Care Act

April 26, 2017

The March of Dimes released the following statement from President Stacey D. Stewart on the MacArthur amendment to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), legislation that will be taken up by the House of Representatives this week:

“Women and children need quality, affordable insurance coverage to be born healthy and lead healthy, productive lives. Unfortunately, in its current form, the MacArthur amendment to American Health Care Act will deny millions of pregnant women, babies and their families the affordable coverage and quality services they need.

It’s easy to offer inexpensive health coverage if it doesn’t cover the benefits people need.  The MacArthur amendment will offer states and health plans numerous opportunities to charge people with pre-existing conditions higher rates, design plans that explicitly exclude the services they are most likely to need, and erect barriers to care.  For pregnant women, this likely means fewer plans that cover maternity and newborn care, and much higher rates for those that do. 

“Moreover, the MacArthur amendment makes no changes to the AHCA’s proposed changes to roll back Medicaid coverage.  The ACHA’s proposal to repeal the Medicaid expansion would leave millions of low-income women of childbearing age without access to care.  Medicaid coverage offers these women a critical opportunity to get healthy before they get pregnant.  Even if they qualify after becoming pregnant, women may receive inadequate services because states will no longer be required to cover maternity and newborn care. Women, infants, and communities will bear the long-term cost if prenatal care is shortchanged and more babies are born sick as a result.

“The March of Dimes urges the House of Representatives to reconsider this legislation. We would welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with policymakers to achieve our mutual goals of ensuring better, more affordable coverage that serves the needs of all Americans.”