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How Trumpcare Affects STD Testing & Sexual Health

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as Trumpcare, is the GOP's attempted plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

A version of the AHCA was passed by the House of Representatives in early May and now, the Senate version of the bill has just been unveiled to the public.

If you're surprised that a bill had to be "unveiled," join the club: Multiple Senators have commented on the ridiculousness of the secrecy surrounding the Senate Republican drafting of the AHCA. Thirteen senators have been working on it, without showing it to the public -- or their fellow senators -- at all.

Senator Bernie Sanders recently called the House version of the AHCA the "worst piece of legislation" he's seen in his lifetime, and he doesn't believe the Senate bill will be much different.

The House version of Trumpcare, to no one's surprise, is particularly awful for STD testing and our overall sexual health. Not only does it roll back upon women's access to health care... well, it's also just a generally a terrible bill.

Here are some of the ways Trumpcare will affect your ability to care for your sexual health:

The "pre-existing conditions" opt-out would limit access to sexual and reproductive health.

Because states would be able to opt out of covering people with certain "pre-existing conditions," Trumpcare would significantly raise the cost of health care for people with those conditions. Although that fact alone is already appalling, it gets even worse: The way those "pre-existing conditions" could be defined would be expanded under Trumpcare.

Unbelievably, things like pregnancy, C-sections, or even rape could be considered "pre-existing conditions." Postpartum depression could also thrown into the mix on the list.

In other words, many women wouldn't be able to access affordable care for circumstances that are very significant to their sexual and reproductive health. Although the GOP bill claims not to discriminate on the basis of gender, it does exactly that.

If access to care for women who are pregnant or the victims of sexual assault is limited, everyone suffers.

States could decide on their own "essential benefits" and exempt real essential sexual health benefits from being covered.

The Affordable Care Act required that certain "essential benefits" be covered by insurers. These benefits included things like maternity care, mental health coverage, prescriptions, and mammograms.

Under Trumpcare, states could apply for exemption of the inclusion of these benefits.

What this means for sexual health is that you could be facing higher costs to get things like general gynecological care -- something that's vital to ensure you are healthy. Raising the costs of prescription drugs also means that many people won't be able to access the medicines they need to treat whatever ailments they have.

Considering mental health an "essential benefit" meant that victims of sexual assault would be able to receive the vital care they needed after the assault - affordably. Trumpcare changes all that.

Planned Parenthood would be defunded for a year.

Planned Parenthood is one of the most important organizations for women's sexual health in the country.

Under Trumpcare, Medicaid would not be permitted to fund Planned Parenthood for a year. Right now, Planned Parenthood gets money from reimbursements for care through Medicaid or other federal grants. Many of Planned Parenthood's patients are able to receive care there because they are on a public health program. This defunding would mean a lot of women would be left without sexual and reproductive healthcare.

Although the Hyde Amendment ensures federal funding cannot go to abortions, by restricting funds to Planned Parenthood this way, many women of low incomes will find themselves without any kind of gynecological care at all.

Trumpcare allows Medicaid to fund other health organizations, but it won't be a necessity for that money to go towards women's health care.

The ACA Medicaid expansion would be rolled back.

Under the ACA, states were provided funds so that they could expand Medicaid. With Trumpcare, this expansion would be repealed and the way states receive Medicaid funds would change. What that means is that states could choose between one of two funding options: a per beneficiary cap or a lump-sum block grant.

If they chose a block grant, they would get a specific amount of money for Medicaid every year. If they chose a per beneficiary cap, the money states received from the federal government would be capped based on the number of Medicaid beneficiaries or they could apply caps per coverage groups - groups like children, seniors, etc.

Either way, states would be receiving more limited funds overall. Not only that, but they could decide to limit the number of female beneficiaries or limit certain sexual health benefits - things like options for contraception.

Access to birth control could be crushed by employers and universities citing "religious freedom."

Although Trumpcare doesn't specifically address birth control coverage, our reality star president's recently-signed executive order forcing the IRS to expand "religious freedom" could negatively impact contraceptive coverage under the AHCA.

If an employer or university didn't want to provide birth control coverage under Trumpcare, they do not have to, as long as they cited a religious objection. Under Trumpcare, it wouldn't even matter if women were trying to access birth control for reasons other than actual birth control -- things like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis. Employers and schools could cut off contraceptive access at their whim.

And they may not need to apply to the government for this. Instead, it would be a unilateral decision not to cover their female employer's needs for contraception anymore.

Trumpcare is very, very bad for women, and a detriment to sexual health overall. Trumpcare is, as Senator Sanders said, one of the worst pieces of legislation ever - and it's a scary thought to imagine if this new bill comes to pass.