Statement of Stacey D. Stewart, President, March of Dimes on Introduction of the American Health Care Act

March 7, 2017

The March of Dimes released the following statement from President Stacey D. Stewart related to the American Health Care Act, legislation that will be taken up by committees in the House of Representatives on Wednesday:

“The March of Dimes is deeply concerned that the American Health Care Act will have serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of women, infants and families across our nation. Based on our analysis, it appears that many Americans will pay more to receive less under this plan, with a disproportionate impact on mothers and babies.

“While the March of Dimes appreciates that this legislation preserves the requirement that all insurers offer coverage to individuals regardless of any pre-existing conditions, the elimination of cost protections means that coverage will likely become unaffordable for many women and their families. Women will almost certainly pay much higher rates if they have had a previous preterm birth, high-risk pregnancy, or poor birth outcome. Women could easily find themselves returned to the time when even reporting that they were considering getting pregnant was grounds for higher premiums. As a result, many women could find that insurance becomes unaffordable, and along with it, access to critically needed services like prenatal care.

“In the Medicaid program, millions of women will be cut off from coverage as the adults currently covered are gradually dropped from the program. Millions more will be barred from the Medicaid coverage currently available after 2019. By eliminating the Medicaid expansion, our nation forfeits one of the best opportunities to empower every woman to get healthy before pregnancy. In addition, the elimination of essential benefits guarantees in Medicaid means that women will no longer be assured of the coverage they need to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

“Unfortunately, this plan goes in the wrong direction by covering fewer people with fewer benefits at a higher cost. The March of Dimes urges Congressional leaders to withdraw this proposal and redraft it to ensure better, more affordable coverage for all Americans.”