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Breaking Down Some Health Care Reform Queries

August 9, 2012

If you glanced at the papers or Internet a week ago on August 1 you would have saw that it was arguably the most important date for women since the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act. Provisions of The Affordable Health Care Act began taking effect allowing women access to important medical services. Not to say that you are as insurance-confused as me but here’s a run down of things I was curious/confused about and reasons why we can’t take it as an all around victory (not to be a debbie downer).

First, clearing up something that I wondered about. In the onslaught of coverage, one word jumped out to me and that was the world new in the line “all new insurance policies must require…”

The word “new” means that insurance plans beginning after this date or “renewed” after this date are required to uphold new services. Insurance plans are usually required to be renewed every year.

Also where does anyone get 47 million women eligible for these health care changes? There are 85.4 million mothers alone of all ages in the United States according the U.S. Census Bureau in 2012.

Why such a low number then? Minus the women in group health plans, issuers that have maintained grandfathered status not required to cover the new services. Minus the small number of women already receiving these services and finally the nonprofit religious organizations, such as churches and schools who are not required to cover these services­­– and you get 47 million American women.

Let’s consult Jezebel for their quirky How-To get free birth control guide for more information on “eligibility.”

Prevention prevention prevention

I think the best word of this development in women’s health care. Prevention, like instead of treating your disease, avoiding the situation all together. American ideology about health is notoriously behind in this category compared to other countries in the world. Let’s treat diabetes instead of take the cause of diabetes of the shelves and televisions. Unfortunately, many women treat disease instead of learn how to prevent it at regular check-ups with their primary care physician. They do this while they avoid paying for what may be thought of as a luxury appointment.

So well-women’s visits, the general “check-up,” is a real victory for women who might avoid these appointment because of cost, making themselves susceptible to missing important screenings. Even more important is the relationship with a doctor every woman should have. Taking this time to discuss health options and lifestyles is revolutionary for women’s health. I’d like to think of this buzz-word “preventative medicine” as one that will allow every person to think of themselves as deserving a chance to be familiar with their health instead of becoming familiar with their developed disease.

Denial for pre-existing conditions like surviving breast cancer!

This probably goes without saying but the amazing women who have survived diseases like cancer, had a child, or suffered domestic abuse should not be denied health insurance. But amazingly, before August 1, 2012 it was not illegal for an insurance company to deny a woman coverage for these “pre-existing” conditions.

Other Awesome Things

Health insurance for young adults on their parents plan. Magic age is 26… because hell even those of us who have jobs are clinging on with our nails.

According to HealthCare.gov, in 2014 it will be illegal for insurance companies to discriminate coverage for anyone with a pre-existing condition.

In 2014, another 8.7 million more women will gain maternity coverage. Currently only about 40% of women have plans that offer this.

The Fight Goes On

While these changes are long-overdue and generally regarded as a enormous victory for women’s health care, there are many opposed to them. While the celebrated press and tweets start to fade (and in fact a week later, they already have) there seems to be a renewed promise to fight this health care reform and ultimately reverse it.

Let’s not ignore what we don’t want to see in this happy day.

The (right-leaning) Rasmussen Reports finds 55 percent of their sample wants the Affordable Care Act repealed while 39 percent want to keep it. A Gallup Poll released in July finds 46 percent of those queried believe the law will hurt the economy while 37 percent think it will help.

This summer, House republicans have held dozens of votes to repeal health care reform. While they might be have been voting in vain, as the Senate and the White House are Democrats, they hope for a Republican overhaul in the November election.

Given that, make sure you are registered to vote!

Peace and Love,

M

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