A win for 47 million women

Beginning today, nearly all employer-sponsored health care plans are required to cover preventive health care services for women with no cost-sharing requirements like co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. This unprecedented shift in women’s health care was made possible by implementation of policies outlined in the Affordable Care Act.

An estimated 47 million women will now have access to basic health services without additional financial strain, including well-woman visits; screenings for gestational diabetes; HPV testing; sexually transmitted infection testing and counseling; counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS; contraceptive methods and counseling; supplies, counseling, and support for breast feeding; and counseling and screening for interpersonal and domestic violence. These services are vital to ensuring the personal health of women and their families, and reflect a truly momentous shift in attitudes about the importance of women’s preventive health care in the United States.

The Task Force fought hard to successfully turn back efforts aimed at expanding religious exemptions that would block women from receiving critical health care services. We argued that the religious exemption should not be expanded to allow employers loosely affiliated with religious entities, such as hospitals sponsored by religious organizations, to stand in the way of proven, scientific practices that increase the health of women and decrease overall costs to the government. Read more here http://thetaskforceblog.org/2012/01/20/a-win-for-women/.

Due to such efforts, the Affordable Care Act now requires nearly all employers or their insurance companies to provide women with basic preventive health services, including contraception. The Center for American Progress has compiled a helpful graphic of all women’s health services, and as the graphic demonstrates, 20.4 million women already are, and will continue to, benefit from these health services. Many women will also no longer have to sacrifice basic necessities in order to ensure they are able to access health services when they need them. It is in the true spirit of equality and justice that the Obama administration has ensured that these women’s health provisions of the Affordable Care Act benefit all women, regardless of their employer, or their diverse identities.