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Just when you think you’ve heard all the bad healthcare takes, another well-intended Congressman turns around and proves you wrong.
Last week, a local Pennsylvania chapter of Indivisible activists uploaded a video of their meeting with Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) regarding his vote for the American Healthcare Act (ACHA), during which Perry asserted that he doesn’t think he should pay for maternity care, because he himself is done having children.
During the video, one of the activists explained to Perry the dire effects that could take place if the ACHA becomes law. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the healthcare law requires certain “essential health benefits,” such as maternity care, be covered by insurers.
However, should the ACHA replace the ACA, states would be allowed to opt out of that mandate, which would allow insurers to hike up costs for those benefits.
Before the ACA, she explained, women who couldn’t get insurance through an employer had extreme difficulty getting maternity care covered by insurers–88 percent of individual insurance plans didn’t cover it—and often had to pay more than men for the same coverage. To which Perry replied, “I don’t want maternity care. We have two children. We’re not having any more. I don’t want to pay for maternity care.”
Which, sure, on the surface would make total sense, if that’s how insurance worked. But it doesn’t. When Perry’s wife, Christy, went into labor both times to deliver their daughters, provided that they used health insurance, her maternity care was covered by other people who paid premiums for their own health insurance—just as other women were able to have their maternity care covered when Perry paid his own premiums. Everyone pays into a system that they will eventually use when they need it, something that Perry has already done. Should his two daughters grow up to have children themselves, they will do the same
Another Indivisible activist equated paying for the essential benefit to a societal good of property owners who pay taxes that go toward public schools, but don’t have children who go there. To which Perry replied, “Some people never want to start a family. Some people don’t want to do a lot of things. Some people don’t want to own a Cadillac, but should we want to make everybody pay for a Cadillac?”
Comparing maternity coverage to owning a Cadillac might be a bit of a stretch as far as societal goods are concerned, but as HuffPost points out, this talking point is well-worn among Republicans who think women should be the sole contributors of maternity care coverage. While debating the ACA in 2009, former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) asserted he personally didn’t need maternity care.
“I don’t need maternity care, and so requiring that to be in my insurance policy is something that I don’t need and will make the policy more expensive,” Kyl said.
“I think your mom probably did,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) replied.
View the maternity care conversation between Perry and the Indivisible activists below:
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.