Donald Trump tweets perplexing statement honoring Women's Health Week

Donald Trump tweets perplexing statement honoring Women's Health Week
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In honor of Mother's Day, President Donald Trump shared a statement touting Women's Health Week and highlighting the "importance of providing women access to the best, evidence-based health information and care." 

Guardian political reporter Ben Jacobs tweeted a screenshot of the statement's full text, which contradicts much of what the AHCA would ultimately do, if passed. Trump pledges to back paid family leave and to "invest in the comprehensive care that women receive in community health centers," which would not even begin to fill the gaping hole his administration would leave in women's health care if it succeeds in shuttering Planned Parenthood. 

Trump explained that heart disease and cancer rates are declining in women, which is true: Mortality rates from coronary heart disease have fallen over the past few decades, as have cancer mortality rates, for both men and women. However, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in women, killing roughly one in four women each year. One in eight women, meanwhile, will receive an invasive breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime, while poor women, women living in medically underserved communities and women of color will bear the brunt of the diagnosis burden

Each of these groups will be hit hard by coverage cuts under the AHCA. 

Trump also took aim at the Affordable Care Act, which the AHCA would replace, projecting onto it many of the weaknesses associated with his own plan:

Ensuring affordable, accessible, and quality health care is critical to improving women's health and ensuring that it fits their priorities at any stage of life. In particular, women should have access to quality prenatal, maternal and newborn care. Under the current healthcare system, however, the lack of choice in health insurance and in healthcare providers, along with skyrocketing premium and out-of-pocket costs, are failing our citizens, our families, and, in particular, our women. Studies show that women are often the primary healthcare decision-makers for their family and they deserve better options.

The ACA expanded access to mammograms for women who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford them. It also opened the door to maternity care for about 9 million women. The AHCA, meanwhile, would cut its predecessor's protections for people with pre-existing conditions, paving the way for insurers to charge women who've had breast cancer and women who've given birth exorbitant premiums, or to deny them coverage altogether. Additionally, it would roll back the ACA's coverage standards for essential health benefits like maternity and newborn care. Maternal mortality rates are on the rise in the U.S. — the AHCA's proposed cuts to Medicaid surely won't reverse that trend. 

The health care plan Trump described in his statement sounds an awful lot like the one he's been working so hard to muscle through Congress. If the intention was to garner support for the measure, he actually ended up making a fairly strong case against it.