Today, Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie unveiled his long awaited alternative to the Affordable Care Act. As expected, Gillespie’s plan is nothing more than a veiled attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the critical protections put in place by the law such as ensuring women are not charged more than men for the same health care and that health plans do not deny coverage based on so-called “pre-existing conditions”, like a previous pregnancy or an abnormal pap smear.
“Ed Gillespie once again made it clear he does not understand the economic realities that women across Virginia face every day,” said Cianti Stewart-Reid, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia Executive Director. “For years, women have been forced to pay more for health care solely because of their gender. Gillespie’s plan would return us to this discriminatory practice.”
Gillespie’s plan would repeal the women’s preventative services benefit, which is highly popular among voters and has already seen tremendous success with women across the country. Nearly 1.4 million women in Virginia are eligible for no co-pay birth control, and stripping this provision would set women and their families back economically-forcing them to foot the more than $371 million dollar tax on birth control.
“Gillespie and his counterparts across the country have campaigned on over-the-counter birth control as a way to reach women voters. Yet, major provisions of Ed Gillespie’s plan would harm women and deny them equitable health care coverage simply because of gender,” said Stewart-Reid. “If Ed Gillespie truly wanted to help Virginians, his plan would include provisions to expand affordable, quality care to the approximately 400,000 hardworking families who desperately need it.”
Also troubling is Gillespie’s plan to offer families a flat tax credit to purchase health care, regardless of income. The Affordable Care Act ensures that individuals with lower incomes receive a greater tax credit so that health insurance is actually affordable for them. A flat tax credit could result in health insurance that is so cost-prohibitive, it is still out of reach for many Virginians. The Affordable Care Act enables states to receive federal funding to provide Medicaid coverage to low-income individuals, something Virginia has failed to do for hardworking families across the Commonwealth. Gillespie’s plan demonstrated no understanding of the economic challenges many Virginians face in acquiring health insurance.
Any sincere effort to expand access to health care is welcomed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, but Ed Gillespie’s plan is simply the same tired effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in a different package.