The ACA & You: Women’s Rights, Health & Repealing Obamacare

The devastating effects that repealing Obamacare will have on women’s routine wellness visits and preventative services.

via ungilded.com

At 1:30 AM on Thursday, January 12, 2017 the Senate voted to dismantle the ACA – a devastating blow to women’s rights and wellness. In the likely event that the House of Representatives follows suit, this shocking decision will have the potential to affect upwards to 55 million women across the nation.Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards expressed her grave concerns regarding the change in administration and potential election of Tom Price as secretary of Health and Human Services.

A RECENT HART RESEARCH POLL FOUND THAT “ONE IN THREE WOMEN VOTERS HAVE STRUGGLED TO AFFORD PRESCRIPTION BIRTH CONTROL, INCLUDING 55% OF YOUNG WOMEN AGED 18 TO 34.”

Richards recently released a statement saying “…we at Planned Parenthood will continue to work to ensure that everyone — including the 2.5 million patients we serve each year — has access to the basic health care they depend on, no matter what”.

Richards isn’t the only figure who has expressed grave concerns regarding the decision to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Nancy Lee, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services and Director of the Office on Women’s Health commented on the significance of the Obama-led legislation saying that “in my opinion, the affordable care act has been the most important advance in women’s health in my lifetime”.

… and it’s not just Richards and Lee who are talking. The Obamacare blow has women all over the nation in uproar due to the significant setbacks that this decision can have on women’s wellness and preventative services.

So what exactly is all of the hullabaloo about?

Here are the reasons why repealing the ACA under the new Trump administration is undermining years of significant progress in the path towards gender equality and fundamental women’s rights:

1) We NEED it.

According to a recent Common Wealth Fund study, 20% of women (18.7 million) were uninsured in 2010 with an additional 16.7 million of women benig underinsured pre-ACA. In 2014 a study found that “fewer Americans had trouble paying their medical bills…and fewer went without care because they couldn’t afford it” once the ACA was put into effect.

A recent Hart Research Poll found that “one in three women voters have struggled to afford prescription birth control, including 55% of young women aged 18 to 34.”

2) It doesn’t just save money – it saves lives.

Under the legislation, women were offered preventative services such as birth control, breast cancer screenings, Pap tests, STI screenings, mammograms, bone density scans, cervical cancer screenings, contraception, wellness visits, vaccinations as well as counseling for alcohol abuse, tobacco use and domestic violence counseling with no out-of-pocket cost.

Before this act, an estimated 30 million women could not afford these services, and as a result of it’s manifestation, 48.5 million women are benefiting from it.

Furthermore, according to the IMS Institute on Healthcare Informatics, an estimated $483 million were saved on birth control during 2013 alone due to Obamacare.

3) Pre-ACA: Woman? Hike it up or hit the road.

Did you know that a whopping 42 states officially allowed the active discrimination of women by insurance companies? That’s right. Insurance companies had the right to charge you more simply for being a woman. According to a White House briefing, a 22-year-old woman “…could be charged 150% the premium that a 22-year-old man paid”.

DID YOU KNOW THAT A WHOPPING 42 STATES OFFICIALLY ALLOWED THE ACTIVE DISCRIMINATION OF WOMEN BY INSURANCE COMPANIES? THAT’S RIGHT. INSURANCE COMPANIES HAD THE RIGHT TO CHARGE YOU MORE SIMPLY FOR BEING A WOMAN. ACCORDING TO A WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING, A 22-YEAR-OLD WOMAN “…COULD BE CHARGED 150% THE PREMIUM THAT A 22-YEAR-OLD MAN PAID”.

As if that fact isn’t staggering enough, it was reported that an estimated 38% of women who tried to purchase coverage were either rejected, charged a higher premium or forced into policies which included clauses listing pregnancies and cancer as pre-existing conditions”.

Prior to the ACA, health insurance companies reserved the right to cancel or deny coverage to pregnant women. That’s right – if you became pregnant, you were at risk of losing coverage and a pregnancy was considered a “pre-existing condition”.

PRIOR TO THE ACA, HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES RESERVED THE RIGHT TO CANCEL OR DENY COVERAGE TO PREGNANT WOMEN. THAT’S RIGHT – IF YOU BECAME PREGNANT, YOU WERE AT RISK OF LOSING COVERAGE AND A PREGNANCY WAS CONSIDERED A “PRE-EXISTING CONDITION”.

As a result, millions of women were susceptible to losing access to valuable and life-saving maternity and prenatal care.

4) It puts the insurance companies in check

The ACA officially worked to effectively ban insurance companies from imposing caps on your coverage. If you developed cancer or another form of serious illness, you could rest assured that you wouldn’t face bankruptcy from costly treatment due to the fact that your insurance coverage benefits ran out. The legislation also imposed the 80/20 rule—  forcing insurance companies to offer better value with a requirement to spend at least 80% of premium dollars on health care and quality improvements instead of on other expenses such as overhead and executive salaries.If they didn’t —  they were obligated to provide consumers a rebate or reduced premium.

So think twice before you brush of the news as irrelevant and whether you’re in Washington, DC or L.A., you too can strap up your boots and support your fellow woman at the inauguration march to fight for your rights.

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