White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday defended a newly promised provision in the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare by saying that older men “can generally say” they will not need coverage for maternity care.
Republican leaders on Thursday signaled to hardline conservatives that the Senate may add a provision to the bill gutting Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits (EHB) rule, which mandates that insurance plans cover a basic minimum of health care services, including maternity care.
“A lot of people buy insurance not knowing what they’re going to need,” RealClearPolitics reporter Alexis Simendinger noted to Spicer during his daily briefing.
“Well, I think if you’re an older man you can generally say you’re not going to need maternity care,” Spicer replied.
Spicer was not the first Republican on Thursday to bring up and simultaneously brush off women’s health services in response to questions about the EHB rule.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) apologized on Thursday after sarcastically telling TPM that he doesn’t want his “mammogram benefits taken away” — though mammograms are mandated under a different section of Obamacare.
Roberts was referring to the often-aired Republican argument that men should not have to pay for insurance that covers services only used by women.
“I deeply regret my comments on a very important topic,” Roberts later tweeted. “Mammograms are essential to women’s health & I never intended to indicate otherwise.”