The Affordable Care Act is the greatest advance for women's health in a generation, and tomorrow one of its promises becomes reality for millions of women, who will be healthier and better off as a result.
Tomorrow, on August 1, the Affordable Care Act will ensure that new insurance plans cover preventive health care without the cost sharing and co-pays that for too long have put these critical services out of reach for so many women. This is one of the most tangible and meaningful benefits from reform.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, no longer will women go without birth control because they cannot afford the co-pays.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, no longer will women go without the HIV and sexually transmitted disease screening and testing that they urgently need.
Thanks to health reform, no longer will cost prevent pregnant women from being tested for gestational diabetes.
Thanks to health reform, no longer will cost prevent new mothers from getting the counseling, support and supplies they need to breastfeed their infants and give them a healthier start in life.
Thanks to reform, no longer will teens and adults at risk for domestic violence go without potentially life-saving screening and counseling.
It's about time.
Already, the Affordable Care Act has covered women's annual breast exams, mammograms and pap tests at no cost. Tomorrow, the list of the law's benefits expands dramatically as cost ceases to be a deterrent to the preventive care that millions of women need. And soon, reform will outlaw gender discrimination in pricing - at long last.
It's hard to believe that controversy still surrounds a law that is doing so much good, that there are those who still try to argue that it should be repealed or defunded. As more and more benefits roll out, we should all focus on implementing the law and ensuring that all women - and all Americans - can access these critical advances.
To those who try to argue that repealing reform is right for the country or its families, I say this: You can't talk fast enough, sow enough confusion, or in any other way deceive the women of America - and the men who care about them - any longer. Better care for pregnant and nursing mothers; screenings for HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and domestic violence; and no-cost access to birth control and other preventive services will make women and our country healthier. And starting tomorrow, we have the Affordable Care Act and its champions to thank for that.
The Affordable Care Act improves women's health.