26 April 2012

GOP to women: You can pay your student loans, or you can have pap smears

The House will vote Friday to extend current rates on federally funded college loans for one year, Speaker John Boehner announced on Wednesday in what is seen as an attempt to blunt President Barack Obama's momentum on an issue popular with young voters.

Boehner said the extension will be paid for with funds from the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration's signature health-care law. [...]

The Republican proposal [...] covers the $5.9 billion cost by dipping into a fund in the Affordable Care Act called The Prevention and Public Health Fund. According to health.gov, the fund is intended to promote wellness, prevent disease and protect against public health emergencies (CNN).
Specifically, the GOP proposal uses funds earmarked for cervical and breast cancer screenings to pay for extending the lowered rates. Got that, college-educated women? This is what the GOP thinks of you. They beg the question that money for the extension has to come out of the Affordable Care Act to begin with, as opposed to any other government program or billionaires' tax loophole. And then after deciding that the ACA is totally the best place out of the federal budget to seek funding, they zero in and go directly after what they call a "slush fund" for women's preventive healthcare.

My "portfolio" of law school loans includes one federally subsidized loan. Doubling the interest rate on that loan would increase my monthly payment by about $25, for an added $300 per year. At least the GOP's math is right: that's about the same cost as one pap smear and one mammogram.

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