I couldn’t sleep last night. There were so many things I wanted to tell you. I had to keep saying to myself “it’s alright, you can write them tomorrow.” So, before I begin the post I promised yesterday on why women should be involved in politics, I have a few additional comments to make about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
1) It’s important to note that the Affordable Care Act provides for no-cost preventative services for men and children, as well as women. Services such as blood pressure and depression screening are included. A full list of the preventative services can be found here: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/07/preventive-services-list.html
2) Why is preventative care so important?
- According to the HHS, chronic diseases “are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75% of the nation’s health spending [and] – often are preventable.” (http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/08/womensprevention08012011a.html)
3) So why do women have an additional list of preventative care services?
- Women and men are different (duh). Women have to worry about getting cervical cancer and making sure their bodies are ready to carry a child. So, it goes to say that there are certain services doctors recommend specifically for women to address issues specific to women.
- This is not to say that men’s health is not as important or that a separate list should not exist for them. In fact, I would gladly welcome a preventative care services list specifically for men, in addition to the already covered services. Just because this list has yet to come into existence, does not mean that women’s preventative care services shouldn’t be included in the ACA. Both are equally important and should be advocated for.
4) Why offer preventative care services at no-cost?
- Offering no-cost services to all Americans puts us on equal footing. Research studies have shown that minorities and low-income individuals have higher rates of disease and less access to care. By tendering services at no-cost, we are eliminating a barrier to preventative care that is crucial for all Americans.
- In addition, research has shown that women were less likely to seek care for preventative care services if there are costs involved.
5) Why do you care about no-cost services
- Health care cost is no pocket change. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. spent $7,960 per person in health care during 2009. This figure is 2 ½ times the average health cost of all OECD countries, which include France, United Kingdom, Japan and Canada among its 34 members. (http://www.oecd.org/health/healthpoliciesanddata/49084355.pdf)
- A friend recently told me that her last well-woman exam cost her $200 out-of-pocket. She was so excited for this new law to come into effect. She now has one less thing to worry about.
6) It’s not just about contraception
- My friend knows the benefits of annual exams. A few years ago she was in the hospital to have a large cyst removed from her ovary. Not all women can afford the annual visits. What if she had been too afraid of the costs to seek care? If the cyst had burst, my friend would not be here today.
- In the same month my friend’s coverage was expanded to include her, she was informed by her doctor that her employer (the State of South Carolina) may be able to use the grandfather clause of the law to stop paying for well-women visits. There goes the peace of mind she had knowing she would be covered for check-ups.
7) One last word about contraception
- Yesterday I spoke about how access to contraception means that women can prevent unplanned pregnancies. They do not have to rely on their male partner to wear a condom, which is not nearly as effective as the regulated medications for women. I wonder if the controversy would be different if there was a contraceptive drug for men. There is no drug. I looked it up and found “a pill is in the works”. That doesn’t sound very promising.
- I would love to see a male contraceptive pill on the market and what kind of attention it generates when added to the list of no-cost preventative care services. I don’t see any laws about Viagra. Just saying.
More to come…
The day has gotten away from me and it is time I spent the rest of it with my family and friends. I’ve done some research and have a great post in draft form on my promised topic of Why Women Should Vote. Look for it soon along with my posting about politicians and their stance on women’s heath issues.