At this midyear point in 2012, there are now twenty states that prohibit a woman from obtaining insurance coverage for abortion either on the exchange or in any private insurance plan in the state. Read more »
NWLC staffers who didn't head the the Supreme Court Thursday celebrate the ruling in our office
A troupe of NWLC interns travelled to the Supreme Court Thursday morning – the day the big decision was announced. When we got there, it wasn’t difficult to figure out where we belonged. Those congregated in front of the Supreme Court today were as clearly divided as the Justices were in their opinions.
To the left was a group of singing and dancing ACA-supporters chanting: Ho ho, hey hey, Obamacare is gonna stay. To the right, I saw those opposed to the health care law chanting: Hey hey, ho ho, Obamacare has got to go. Yes, that’s right, the two sides were almost singing the same exact song. How poetic, right?
While we waited for the decision, it was clear that there would be winners and losers. And although we were there awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, many of the people on the steps seemed to be talking about everything but the health care law and what it actually does. And the way some were talking, it seemed that the real impact of the ACA was completely lost on them. Read more »
I cried a few times yesterday. Not bawling tears, but a few drops of relief. A few drops for those who have been standing up to fight for our health care. A few drops for my friends’ children who will grow up in a country that provides them with the resources they need to thrive. A few drops for the women whose lives will be saved by learning about a condition from a simple preventive service. A few drops for the uninsured who will finally have affordable coverage in 2014. And a few drops for myself.
The promises of the Affordable Care Act are safe for one more day. There are so many promises of the law. These are a just a few promises the law makes to me:
I will not be denied coverage for a preexisting condition.
I will have access to preventive services without copays or deductibles.
When I become eligible for Medicare (in many, many, many years), I will not have to worry about a gap in my prescription drug coverage.
My friends don’t need to worry that their young children will hit an annual or lifetime dollar limit on their insurance.
Yesterday was a very good day for women at the Supreme Court. The constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, was upheld, and its implementation will now continue. As a result, women will no longer be charged more than men for the same insurance; mammograms, Pap smears, contraception, and a host of other preventive services will be covered by insurance with no co-pay; women will no longer be denied insurance coverage because they are pregnant or have had a cesarean section or survived domestic violence; and millions more women will be covered by Medicaid. There is much to celebrate. But the Court's decision reveals that there are also important tasks ahead.
First, the Court held that states need not participate in the expansion of Medicaid as a condition of continuing to receive their current Medicaid funding. The ACA expanded Medicaid's coverage to reach all adults under 133 percent of the poverty level beginning in 2014. (Today the federal government only requires states to cover the disabled, the elderly, children, pregnant women, and parents.) Under the Court's ruling, states will have the option whether or not to provide that additional coverage. But there is much reason to be optimistic that all or nearly all states will do so. The federal government covers 100 percent of the costs of the Medicaid expansion for the first three years; it is in essence offering the states free money during that time. After that, the federal government's support will phase down — to only 90 percent of the costs of the expansion. By spending very little of their own money, states can ensure that those uninsured who are the poorest and most vulnerable — those least able to get insurance any other way — will receive health coverage. This should be an easy choice, but there is nevertheless work to be done to ensure that all states do the right thing and fulfill the promise of the ACA.
Second, while the result today was almost wholly good, the Court's opinion raised questions about how the Constitution will be interpreted in future cases. Read more »
This month, I returned to the National Women’s Law Center after more than 10 years, and found myself dropped into one of the most critical fights of the day: protecting the contraceptive coverage benefit established in health care reform. While I am still amazed that people are attacking family planning in the year 2012, part of me cannot help but marvel at how far we have come. Read more »
Before coming to the NWLC as a summer intern, I supported the Affordable Care Act as a consumer. Believing that the bill would reduce my premiums and provide me with better coverage, I fought for the passage of the bill. However, this summer, I have learned just how much this bill means to me as a woman. This point was brought home by Judy Waxman and Emily Martin as they presented at the Reproductive Law and Policy 101 training hosted by the National Women's Law Center and Law Students for Reproductive Justice last Friday.
Until last Friday, I didn't realize how much of an impact the law has on me as a woman. Judy and Emily's presentation changed that. Before the passage of the ACA, I could have been forced to pay more than a man for the same health insurance. I could have been denied maternity coverage or even health insurance if a previous pregnancy resulted in complications. Read more »
In her recent post on National Review Online, Grace-Marie Turner argues that American women will pay more for health insurance coverage while losing autonomy, choice and high-quality care under the Affordable Care Act. These accusations – and others – compose a familiar refrain from the opponents of the health care law, but it is a chorus that is inaccurate and out of tune.
On the contrary, the ACA is already helping women and their families gain access to affordable coverage and will continue to expand access as the law is implemented. For example, over 19 million women already have access to a number of preventive services without cost-sharing, including mammograms and colonoscopies. And contrary to Turner’s claims that the ACA will result in the loss of dependent coverage,over 2.5 million young people have been able to gain coverage through a provision that allows dependents to stay on their parents’ coverage through age 26.
Over the next few years, the ACA will continue to expand health care access for millions of American women – such as women who today cannot purchase coverage in the individual market because they have a pre-existing condition, who must pay more than men for the same health insurance policy, and whose individual market plan does not even provide coverage for maternity care. Read more »
The major health insurers held a hot-ticket event yesterday – first United Healthcare announced that it would retain key patient protections and health coverage guarantees, no matter how the Supreme Court rules on the Affordable Care Act, and by mid-afternoon it seemed like all of the other health plans wanted to be at the party, too.
First, United Healthcare kicked off the festivities in grand style by promising that it would continue to cover preventive care without requiring patients to make copayments, allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans as dependents through age 26, and continue to follow the new law’s ban on lifetime benefit limits. United will also continue to enforce patient rights through a streamlined appeals process and will not seek to rescind a member’s coverage after they become sick (except in cases of a fraudulent insurance application).
Other insurance plans wanted to join the party. As the day wore on, Humana and Aetna announced that they would continue to honor identical or near-identical reforms, with Aetna emphasizing that they would also continue working with hospitals, doctors and other health providers to develop innovative delivery system reforms – another hallmark of the new law. The national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association “encouraged” local Blues plans to continue to honor these provisions from the ACA.
Other plans, such as CIGNA and Wellpoint, weren’t sure that they wanted to join the festivities. But most importantly, one type of guest wasn’t invited to the party at all. Namely, sick people. Read more »
I couldn’t remember the last time I had my cholesterol screened.
That probably isn’t a good thing given that there is a history of heart disease in my family. But I kept coming up with excuses not to get tested – I already have a lot of doctor appointments - I don’t have a primary care provider - I eat healthy - I’m too young to worry about cholesterol.
Eliminating the small copay for my preventive visit may not have been much, but it meant one less hurdle. I also started thinking about why these services are required to be provided with no cost sharing. Preventive services are important. Read more »