GOP Congressman Laughs Off Prenatal Coverage: ‘Why Do We Have To Pay For That Coverage That We Can’t Use?’

In a radio interview on Friday, Republican Rep. Pete Olson of Texas laughed off the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that health plans cover prenatal and maternity care, asking why men “have to pay for that coverage that we can’t use.”

Olson told Houston radio host Sam Malone that while he was happy that Senate Republicans had introduced their version of a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act, the bill “appears to be dead on arrival already.”

He said that while he was happy the bill existed, he also had “some problems” with it, including that it nominally keeps the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurance plans cover a set of “essential benefits” including prenatal and maternity care. (In reality, both the House and Senate repeal bills would allow states to waive those essential benefit requirements.)

“I have some concerns because, one thing, they still guarantee coverage for ten essential conditions,” Olson said, “and one of those conditions—this is care for all,includes you and me—it’s prenatal care. …I think we all have what we call an X chromosome. You, me, JP, Tom and Chuck have those, which means we can’t have a baby. Why do we have to pay for that coverage that we can’t use?”

Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois has similarly attacked the ACA’s maternity care coverage requirement. Both Shimkus and Olson boast of being “pro-life.”

Olson also took issue with the Senate bill’s plan to phase out the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, which he said was too slow, in contrast with the House’s: “We grab that bandage and tear that sucker off, start to move on.”

Olson went on to attack various Democratic members of the House and Senate, referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Miss Pocohantas” and to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as “Miss Flancy” and “honey,” and playing a donkey sound to imitate Sen. Chuck Schumer.