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Religious Refusal Laws Threaten Access to Health Care

This post is cross-posted from AIDS United

In 2011, Joao Simoes, a gay HIV positive man was denied HIV medication by a doctor who, according to Simoes, stated, “This is what he gets for going against God’s will.” Unfortunately, Simoes’s experience was far from unique. Almost 20% of HIV-positive individuals report being denied health care.

Refusals to provide care can threaten not only an individual’s health but public health as well by contributing to the spread of HIV. Perhaps as important, a refusal, or the fear of being refused care, can lead people living with HIV to distrust health care workers. This fear can discourage people from disclosing personal information that might be essential to their care and lead people to avoid the health care system all together or to delay getting necessary care. Read more »

Birth Control Without Costs: It's The Law

Here at NWLC, we are big fans of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit because it removes cost barriers to birth control and has the potential to change women’s lives. Which is why the findings in our report, “State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act,” are so troubling. While most women are getting coverage of birth control without out-of-pocket costs like the law requires, some insurance companies are not complying with the law. Some insurance companies charge women for their birth control, do not cover it at all, charge for services associated with the birth control, or place unallowable limits on the coverage. When we uncover these violations of the law, we know that women aren’t able to access their birth control method because of the cost barrier. Read more »

The Affordable Care Act — Latest Data is a Good News Story

Is it working? In the health care context, you might ask this about a prescription drug, a chemotherapy regimen, or a rehabilitation plan. But we don’t really need to ask that any longer about the Affordable Care Act. According to the latest Gallup-Healthways survey, the uninsured rate among American adults has fallen to 11.9 percent — a drop of more than 5 percentage points since the end of 2013, which was right before coverage began through the ACA’s health care Marketplaces.

While it is exciting enough to see the uninsured rate for American adults fall by nearly one-third, it is even more exciting to see that the groups most likely to lack insurance — low-income Americans, Latinos, young adults and African Americans — have seen the most change under the law. The good folks at Gallup-Healthways haven’t broken down their data by gender, but we do know that 54 percent of Marketplace enrollees are women — which tells us that many of the individuals with new coverage are likely to be women. Read more »

SCOTUS and Medicaid: Another Threat to Women’s Health Care

In a 5-4 ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court decided that health care providers cannot sue state Medicaid programs to enforce federal Medicaid law. In Armstrong v. Exceptional Child, Medicaid providers for individuals with developmental disabilities had sued Idaho over payment rates that, they argued, violated requirements in the Medicaid statute that require states to pay participating providers rates that ensure patients’ access to services. Read more »

Happy Fifth Birthday, ACA!

Can you believe it? The ACA is already five years old. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the law’s passage. Today, we can celebrate the law’s continued success.

It’s clear the law is working. Because of the ACA, women are protected from discriminatory health insurance practices, health coverage is more affordable and easier to obtain, and women have better access to many of the health services they need. Read more »

House and Senate Budgets Threaten Women’s Health

Earlier this week, the House released a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY2016) which would leave millions of women and their families without the financial security of high quality health insurance, unable to access the health care services they need, and facing dramatic increases in their healthcare costs. To learn more about the details of House budget proposal, our analysis is available here

Late yesterday, the Senate released their counterpart [PDF] to the House budget. The strategy is the same: repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicare and Medicaid. The results would be the same, too: millions of women left without access to affordable health coverage and the care they need.

Specifically, the Senate budget proposes: Read more »

Seven Million Reasons to Worry about King v. Burwell

King v. Burwell is the most recent case attacking the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to head to the Supreme Court.  And it’s putting seven million women at risk of losing their access to affordable health insurance. Read more »

State Advocates’ Agenda for Private Health Insurance in 2015

Cross-posted from FamiliesUSA — posted by Cheryl Fish-Parcham and Claire McAndrew

Around the country, health care advocates are developing advocacy agendas to ensure that private health insurance plans meet consumers’ needs. From addressing high costs for consumers to strengthening provider networks to improving prescription drug formularies, advocates have a lot of work planned this year to improve private insurance. 

Here, we list some of the top private insurance issues that are on advocates’ 2015 agendas, along with best practices and resources that advocates shared with their peers at our Health Action conferenceRead more »

Expanding Preventive Services in FY2016

Yesterday, the President released his budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. The budget maintains the President’s commitment to fully implementing the Affordable Care Act and takes other steps to protect women’s access to health care. The budget proposes requiring states to cover preventive services without cost-sharing in traditional Medicaid – a major step towards increasing access to the preventive services that women need to live longer lives and stay healthy.

The proposal to expand preventive services coverage to Medicaid includes eight women’s preventive services. These services were developed by the Institute of Medicine and endorsed by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). They include: (1) Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; (2) Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence; (3) Screening for gestational diabetes; (4) DNA testing for high-risk strains of HPV; (5) Counseling regarding sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; (6) Screening for HIV; (7) Contraceptive methods and counseling; and (8) Well woman visits. Thanks to the ACA, most women already have access to these services without cost-sharing, including women in private plans and women enrolled in expanded Medicaid coverage. Read more »

Save American Workers from H.R. 30

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will be voting on H.R. 30, a bill that would change the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full-time work so that employers only have to offer health insurance to employees who regularly work 40 or more hours a week. Without this change, employers must offer coverage to employees who regularly work 30 or more hours a week.

These are four reasons H.R. 30 is bad for American women, American workers and American families. Read more »