Thursday, June 28, 2012

Planned Parenthood: Millions of women will benefit from Affordable Health Care Act

(From Planned Parenthood of Missouri)

The U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act will have a “profound and concrete impact on millions of people’s lives,” Planned Parenthood said today.  Calling the Affordable Care Act “the greatest advance in women’s health in a generation.” Planned Parenthood said the law will provide access to birth control and cancer screenings without co-pays, guaranteed direct access to OB/GYN providers without referrals, and an end to discriminatory practices against women, such as charging women higher premiums and denying coverage for “pre-existing conditions.”

“This decision will have a profound and concrete impact on millions of people’s lives. Affordable, quality health care will now be available to millions of women who had no coverage or inadequate coverage before. Today, we are closer than ever to realizing the promise of health care for all.  This is a victory for the American people, and we thank President Obama and the members of Congress who passed the Affordable Care Act for their leadership on this issue.” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

In May, the Missouri Legislature sent Governor Nixon a bill (SB749) designed to undermine the incredibly popular proposal requiring most health insurance plans to cover birth control as preventive care with no additional co-pays. The governor has until July 14th to veto the bill or allow SB 749 to become law.

“Now that the highest court in the nation has upheld access to birth control, Governor Nixon should veto SB749 which would undercut this popular, important women’s health provision,” said Mary Kogut, Vice President of Patient Services at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. “Why should women in Missouri have less health care coverage than women in other states?” Kogut asked.

“At Planned Parenthood, we know how important this law and this decision are for women and families, because we see the need for affordable health care every day. Women who come into Planned Parenthood health centers often struggle to balance paying for birth control and health services with paying for textbooks, groceries, or gas for the car. The Affordable Care Act will make those decisions easier for women across the country,” Richards said.

Specifically, Planned Parenthood pointed to key benefits of the Affordable Care Act that will have an impact on millions of American’s lives:
·         More than 45 million women have already received coverage for preventive health screenings at no cost since August 2010 thanks to the Affordable Care Act – including mammograms and Pap tests – and millions more will be able to get free screenings in the coming years.
·         3.1 million young adults have already been able to stay on their parents’ insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. In the next year, millions more who would have otherwise lost coverage will continue to be insured under their parents’ plan.
·         Women are guaranteed direct access to OB/GYN providers without a referral, as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
·         Starting in August, birth control will be treated like any other preventive prescription under the Affordable Care Act, and will be available without co-pays or deductibles to over 203,000 Missouri women – if the Governor vetoes SB749.  

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, 17 million women will be newly insured. Health care providers that focus on family planning increasingly contract with private insurance companies. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 33 percent of all family planning providers now contract with private insurers – and 49 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers have contracts with private insurance companies.

Nearly 800 Planned Parenthood health centers serve nearly three million patients every year, and one in five women in America relies on Planned Parenthood at some point in her life. More than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers’ services are preventive, including cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing.

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