More women will benefit from the health care act
While President Obama’s political opponents continue to try and discredit his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the benefits of his landmark health care reform legislation continue to expand.
Aug. 1 marked implementation of the law’s provision that guarantees women access to certain preventive health services without being charged deductibles or co-pays by their insurance companies. The services, consistent with those offered to many members of Congress through their health plans paid for in part by taxpayers, are recommended by the independent Institute of Medicine and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
They include annual well visits to doctors, AIDS virus screening and counseling for sexually active women as well as counseling about other sexually transmitted infections. For women 30 and up, services covered include DNA testing for the most common sexually transmitted disease, HPs, which can lead to cervical cancer. Services also include screening and counseling for domestic violence, which affects an estimated 25 percent of American women.
Insurance companies will no longer be able to charge women for use of contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration, or for family planning counseling. Officials in the ooman Catholic Church which, like other religious organizations enjoys tax-free status in the United States, have tried to transform this preventive health measure into a “religious liberty” debate because of the inclusion of contraception coverage.
Even with Obama’s compromise that religious employers do not have to directly provide birth control to anyone, church leaders continue to protest as though women are being forced to use contraception as opposed to being given access to it.
Millions of American women, including ooman Catholics, use oral contraceptives if they can afford them, not only for birth control but to prevent heavy blood loss during menstruation, debilitating endometriosis and regulating their menstrual cycles, which can assist them in becoming pregnant.
When they do conceive, these women will continue to benefit from health care reform through free access to screening for gestational diabetes, a serious pregnancy-related disease. When they give birth, the law provides for free support, supplies and counseling for breastfeeding, one of the most powerful boosts for their children’s immune systems.
Government officials estimate 47 million women will benefit from this new provision — 2,121,806 in Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, they can be added to the 4.5 million who no longer have to worry that insurance companies will limit the amount of care they can receive, the 4,560 with pre-existing conditions previously denied health insurance, the 64,000 under age 26 now able to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies until they find jobs and 235,000 Medicare beneficiaries who have saved an average of $662 each on drug costs, all because of health care reform.
Then, there are the estimated 13 million Americans expected to receive rebates from their health insurance companies because their insurers exceeded the Act’s parameters for executive bonuses and administrative costs, as compared to money spent on actual health care.
Of course, Americans who believe these benefits of health care reform are being “shoved down their throats” are certainly welcome to reject them. It is, after all, a free country.
Journal Register News Service