GOP Senator Scoffs at Trumpcare’s Potential Cuts to Women’s Health

His comment came hours before the House was supposed to vote on the Republican health care bill, whose fate is in doubt.

Mark Reinstein/ZUMA

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With Republican support for the American Health Care Act in jeopardy, President Donald Trump held a last-minute meeting with House Freedom Caucus members Thursday to discuss the possibility of eliminating one of Obamacare’s signature elements: the requirement that insurance policies cover 10 so-called essential health benefits.

One of those benefits is preventive services, which include cancer screenings such as mammograms. According to a January report, more women across all income and education levels used mammograms under Obamacare than before the health care law was enacted.

But preserving affordable access to these types of benefits doesn’t seem to be a major concern for Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). Asked on Thursday if he supported abandoning Obamacare’s essential health benefits, Roberts reportedly scoffed, “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms.”

Under fire for the comment, Roberts later tweeted that he regretted his remarks:

The joke, which appears to make light of the fact that as a man he doesn’t need the breast-screening test, came just hours before the House is slated to vote on Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Republicans are reportedly scrambling to get the bill passed, and its fate remains in doubt.

As Trump met with Freedom Caucus members Thursday, White House official Cliff Sims tweeted the following image, in which the only woman present in the room appeared to be Kellyanne Conway:

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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