Earlier this week during an interview on the “Dr. Oz” show, Ivanka Trump revealed a personal battle with postpartum depression. She joins a chorus of celebrities speaking out about their experiences and bringing much needed attention to an issue that impacts millions of women and families each year. While I applaud anyone willing to speak about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, I can’t help but note the absurdity in the timing of her revelation.
Next week the senate is set to vote on the Graham Cassidy bill. This attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act will give states the power to cut essential benefits and will drastically cut Medicaid funding. So, what does this mean for the millions of women and families affected by perinatal mood and anxiety disorders?
Insurers could deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. This means if you have a history of postpartum depression or anxiety you could be denied coverage. Maternity care and women’s health visits may no longer be covered which jeopardizes access to care and critical screenings that occur during these visits. If you are poor and rely on Medicaid you may lose access to care. Planned Parenthood’s budget which relies on Medicaid to provide essential care to poor women will be gutted.
In short, women’s access to mental health and medical care will be ravaged by this bill. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are the most common complication of pregnancy. The perinatal period is the most vulnerable time for women’s emotional health with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and suicide. These conditions affect millions of American women, and these women and their families deserve proper treatment and screening.
While I can’t speak to any specifics about Ms. Trump’s experience with postpartum depression, I can say with certainty that she stands here on the other side of her battle because of access to proper screening and treatment (not to mention the privilege that affords her the opportunity to take maternity leave or pay for childcare).
Stand with the American Psychiatric Association, The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, the National Institute for Reproductive Health and the countless medical and mental health organizations who are speaking out against this bill. Call your senator and tell them to vote note no on Graham Cassidy.