With Republican support for the American Health Care Act in jeopardy, President Donald Trump held a last-minute meeting with House Freedom Caucus members Thursday to discuss the possibility of eliminating one of Obamacare’s signature elements: the requirement that insurance policies cover 10 so-called essential health benefits.
One of those benefits is preventive services, which include cancer screenings such as mammograms. According to a January report, more women across all income and education levels used mammograms under Obamacare than before the health care law was enacted.
But preserving affordable access to these types of benefits doesn’t seem to be a major concern for Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). Asked on Thursday if he supported abandoning Obamacare’s essential health benefits, Roberts reportedly scoffed, “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms.”
Under fire for the comment, Roberts later tweeted that he regretted his remarks:
I deeply regret my comments on a very important topic. Mammograms are essential to women’s health & I never intended to indicate otherwise.
— Pat Roberts (@SenPatRoberts) March 23, 2017
The joke, which appears to make light of the fact that as a man he doesn’t need the breast-screening test, came just hours before the House is slated to vote on Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Republicans are reportedly scrambling to get the bill passed, and its fate remains in doubt.
As Trump met with Freedom Caucus members Thursday, White House official Cliff Sims tweeted the following image, in which the only woman present in the room appeared to be Kellyanne Conway:
Lengthy standing ovation from the Freedom Caucus when @POTUS walked into the Cabinet Room just now. Big momentum toward #RepealAndReplace. pic.twitter.com/N1FLGAVFMN
— Cliff Sims (@CSims45) March 23, 2017