To the Editor:
I honestly thought I was reading satire when I read that Rep. Ann Wagner was co-sponsoring the Every Mother and Child Act [“Helping impoverished children around the world,” Letters to the Editor, West Newsmagazine, Dec. 20].
This legislation seeks to impact global preventable maternal and child deaths. Rep. Wagner is the last person who should be allowed any input on this vital legislation because she has hurt vulnerable women and their infants every time she gets a chance to cast a vote on any legislation that impacts them.
Maternity care is one of 10 mandated benefits of Obamacare. Before Obamacare, insurance companies charged up to 30 percent more to cover women and enacted waiting periods for maternity coverage. An estimated 13 million women now have access to vital maternity coverage to give them the best chance of delivering a healthy baby that will survive. But Rep. Wagner voted to repeal Obamacare every chance she got.
Rep. Wagner fully supported and voted for Trumpcare. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that 22 million people would have lost their health insurance under Trumpcare. Maternity benefits would have skyrocketed since they would no longer be mandated, leaving many women unable to afford coverage at all. If that was not enough: Trumpcare cut about $800 million from Medicaid and stopped states from expanding Medicaid for the working poor. Her votes would have put millions of pregnant women and their infants at risk had the repeal passed. Where would these pregnant women and their children get the healthcare they need if Obamacare was repealed? Rep. Wagner was silent.
Rep. Wagner fully supports Trump signing the global “Gag Rule” that prohibits providing funds to any global program that offers abortion counseling as part of family planning. This executive order cut $9 billion dollars of foreign health aid used to provide contraception, AIDS prevention, prenatal and safe delivery programs, vaccinations, and even efforts to prevent Malaria and Ebola. The end result of this short-sighted Gag Rule is that preventable maternal and child death rates will rise again for lack of healthcare and education. Where is Rep. Wagner’s outrage against the “Gag Rule” that puts millions more impoverished women and their kids at risk?
Now let’s talk about the Children’s Health Insurance Program [CHIP]. Rep. Wagner thought it was far more urgent to pass a tax cut where 83 percent of the benefits go to the top 1 percent of the wealthiest while kicking off 13 million who will no longer be able to afford their Obamacare health insurance because of increased rates. But wait. Didn’t the tax cut bill include a 3-month CHIP extension? Yes, it did, but only so that Congress can “figure out” how to pay for it. One plan to fund CHIP is to take money out of child wellness programs designed to prevent sickness. Of course, Rep. Wagner could not add $1 to the estimated $1 trillion-plus deficit created by the tax cut for the wealthiest to pay for poor pregnant women’s and kids’ health care. Meanwhile, moms with very sick children lie awake wondering if their kids’ care will bankrupt them as the wealthiest celebrate their tax windfall. Rep. Wagner once again turned her back on the most vulnerable women and children with her vote.
Rep. Wagner has undermined healthcare for pregnant women and kids by voting against them every chance she got. Until she starts voting to help pregnant women and infants, she is the last person to provide input to this bill much less co-sponsor it.