Yesterday the United States Senate released the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a proposed bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Gina Scaramella, executive director of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, released the following statement in response:
“This bill, if passed, would result in serious harm to survivors of sexual violence. Under current law, health insurance plans must cover essential health benefits such as preventive health-care services that most of us assume exist in our health plans. The proposed Senate bill would let states offer plans that do not include these essential health benefits, which includes tests for blood pressure and cholesterol, mammograms, and vaccinations. They also include coverage for mental health care and substance abuse treatment, which are truly essential for survivors of sexual violence.
“The medical and mental health impacts of sexual violence go well beyond the need for a ‘rape kit’ exam. Survivors need long-term access to nonjudgmental health and mental health services to reduce their suffering and prevent additional harms. Sexual violence puts a load on intimate family relationships. This happens not only at the time of assault, but also in an ongoing way as ‘life happens.’
“Sexual assault is an unacceptable part of life for too many. It is hard to overstate the potential harm this bill could inflict on survivors of sexual violence. If passed, it will bring additional grief and hardship to survivors of sexual violence.”