April 6, 2012 — The White House on Thursday denounced House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, saying it would be disproportionately harmful to women, Politico's "44" reports.
Senior administration officials charged that the Republican budget blueprint, which calls for deep spending cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, targets programs that women rely on more than men (Hart, Politico, 4/5). For example, labor and delivery of one-third of infants born in the U.S. is covered by Medicaid, while 70% of Medicare beneficiaries over age 85 are women.
"Anything you do to Medicare is going to disproportionately affect women," a White House official said, adding, "Medicaid disproportionately benefits women at every stage of the life cycle." The budget would also target other federal programs that benefit women, including funding for violence prevention.
Attempts by GOP lawmakers to repeal the federal health reform law would make it even harder for women to obtain health services such as prenatal and postnatal care, officials said (MacInnis, Reuters, 4/5). A high court ruling against the health reform law "would be devastating for women" because it would eliminate benefits such as no-cost contraceptive coverage and preventive screenings for breast cancer, an official added ("44," Politico, 4/5).
Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Criticizes RNC Chair's 'War on Women' Comments
On Thursday, Obama's deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, issued a statement condemning Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus' likening of the "war on women" to a "war on caterpillars," the Washington Post reports.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Priebus called the "war on women" a concoction created by Democrats and their supporters in the media. "If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and mainstream media outlet[s] talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we have problems with caterpillars," he said.
Cutter said that Priebus' "comparison of Republican attempts to limit women's access to mammograms, cervical cancer screenings and contraception to a 'war on caterpillars' shows how little regard leading Republicans, including Mitt Romney, have for women's health" (Tumulty/Nakamura, Washington Post, 4/5).
White House To Host Forum on Women, Economy
In related news, Obama on Friday will host a forum on women and the economy that aims to "highlight the ways the administration has helped create economic security for women and recognizes that women are key to economic growth and competitiveness," USA Today's "The Oval" reports (Jackson, "The Oval," USA Today, 4/5).
At the forum, the White House Council on Women and Girls will release its second annual report detailing the administration's efforts to improve women's economic standing, including the health reform provision barring insurers from charging women higher premiums than men ("44," Politico, 4/5).