Originally published in this week’s TriCityNews. If you live in Monmouth or Ocean County, NJ - pick up a copy!
As the two year anniversary of health care reform approaches, women shouldn’t ask themselves what made Republicans hate us so much (the answer to that is stayed away in droves.) But we should ask what life would be like if our health was left in their hands.
The Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama two years ago next week, has prioritized women’s health despite efforts from Republicans who seem to be working out their mommy issues on every woman in America. Their counterproposals not only suggest that they don’t care about women’s health, but that they believe women should be punished for the fact that their healthcare is inherently sexual.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer discriminate by charging women premiums 150% higher than men of the same age and health status. This reads as either “good news” or a “threat to our freedom” depending on whether you believe in equality or align yourself with the increasingly radical GOP.
The law places a cap on what insurance companies can force women to spend in co-pays and deductibles. Beginning in 2014, women who can’t afford comprehensive insurance will be provided with tax credits. That’s a great relief for over one-half of women in America who delay seeking life-saving care because of costs and the other one-third who must give up basic necessities to receive urgent care. For a first-world country, that’s a third-world reality.
The Affordable Care Act also eliminates lifetime limits on insurance coverage. And it forbids them from dropping women from coverage when they get sick.
Preventing insurance companies from preying on the weakest among us? President Obama might as well have burned the flag on the White House lawn while eating escargot and blasting the Dixie Chicks.
Republicans have spent the better part of the two years since the Affordable Care Act became law fighting for regressive change. Instead of focusing on the job creation they allegedly care so much about, they have favored policing uteruses - introducing over 45 bills on abortion alone.
Recently in Virginia, the State Senate passed a law which forces women to have medically unnecessary ultrasounds before an abortion. Though proving chivalry isn’t completely dead, the provision to require an intrusive - and again, medically unnecessary - vaginal probe was left out.
I suppose it’s not surprising that a policy which benefits women so greatly doesn’t have the support of Governor Christie, who has declared that he is “not a fan” of the Affordable Care Act. Doing his part to be the best Regressive he can be, Christie himself eliminated $7.4M for women’s reproductive health services in 2010.
Beyond legislative assaults on women’s health and reproductive rights, there have been gross verbal attacks.
Rick Santorum, that theocrat in the sweater vest who is somehow taken seriously as a presidential prospect, would like to outlaw birth control entirely. Rick Santorum is also against abortion in all cases including rape and incest. You read that correctly: someone who is vehemently anti-abortion is also vehemently against the one thing which is sure to prevent abortion.
Foster Friess, Rick Santorum’s top donor - yes, Santorum has donors - recently stated “you know, back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”
In an attempt to one-up Friess, this past week Rush Limbaugh took a break from popping Oxycontin and looking for his 5th wife in order to attack Sandra Fluke - a Georgetown University law student and witness at the Nancy Pelosi-convened Democratic Steering and Policy Committee’s unofficial hearing on birth control. The hearing served as a response to the all-male panel hearing held by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Limbaugh stated that Fluke was a “prostitute” and a “slut” before going further to suggest that the “sluts” who expect their contraceptives to be covered under their health insurance should be forced to tape themselves having sex and post the tapes online so that “we can all watch.”
After devoting multiple days of his radio program to personally attacking Sandra Fluke, Limbaugh issued an apology for his “word choices”, adding that the episodes were an “attempt to be humorous.” Limbaugh is probably more likely sorry that nobody told him misogyny doesn’t sell well: he’s lost 5 sponsors and counting.
Considering that nothing makes me want to hold an aspirin between my knees more than seeing or hearing Rush Limbaugh, It’s not impossible that he has decided to selflessly employ himself as a means of contraception. What a guy.
Sure, the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect. A lot of liberals like myself were disappointed not to see the inclusion of a public option. Still, it’s difficult to feel dissatisfied when cogitating the sort of health care reforms Right-Wingers deem acceptable.
It seems when they say want to “take our country back!” they mean to the 1800s specifically.
By Olivia Nuzzi