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Chants of a different sort greet U.S. Rep. Omar upon her return home to Minnesota. Also on our Friday rundown: A new report says gunshot survivors need more outreach, support. Plus, sharing climate-change perspectives in Charlotte.

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Obamacare's Survival a Relief for Pro-Choice Advocates

Critics of the now-defunct Graham-Cassidy bill say it would have severely restricted reproductive rights. (Jfruh/Wikipedia)
Critics of the now-defunct Graham-Cassidy bill say it would have severely restricted reproductive rights. (Jfruh/Wikipedia)
September 29, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. - One group indicating relief about the U.S. Senate not voting on a new Affordable Care Act replacement bill this week is pro-choice advocates.

Republican leaders in the Senate canceled a scheduled vote on Tuesday, leaving the "Obamacare" mandates on family-planning coverage in effect for now. Some estimates have said as many as 32 million Americans would have lost their health insurance under the bill.

And, according to Kaylie Hanson Long, the national communications director for NARAL Pro-Choice America, it would have imposed severe restrictions on reproductive rights.

"Allowing states to waive birth-control coverage, really restrict abortion coverage," she says. "What's really offensive too is, the whole time, they have been talking about passing a bill that really slashes maternity care."

Republicans have called the Affordable Care Act a disaster with increasingly unaffordable premiums, dwindling choices for consumers and exorbitant costs. Failure of the latest repeal effort is likely to restart a bipartisan effort to improve the ACA.

And Long adds there is another option on the table - Senator Bernie Sander's "Medicare for All" bill, which would cover abortion services.

"That would have the impact of repealing the Hyde Amendment, which does nothing but prevents low-income women from receiving the same kind of health care that their wealthier peers can access," she explains.

The Sanders bill would create a national, single-payer health-care system, replacing most private health insurance.

President Donald Trump, who made ACA repeal a central theme of his election campaign, expressed his disappointment that the effort failed again. But Long stresses the fight is far from over.

"This won't be their last attempt," she warns. "They're going to continue to try to chip away at the law in whatever way they can. But that's why we all need to stay on our toes and keep up these resistance efforts."

Republicans say they will renew their repeal efforts after they have resolved the issue of tax reform.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA