National Partnership for Women & Families

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From the desk of ... Debra L. Ness

Shame on Them!

January 20, 2011 | Health Care

For decades, women and families have been penalized by punitive and predatory insurance practices that have restricted their access to quality, affordable care. But the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is changing that. It is the greatest advance for women's health in a generation.

This new law is already bringing us closer to the day when essential women's services are fully covered, prevention is a priority, and care is coordinated so family caregivers don't struggle to shoulder impossible loads.

Yet just as we are beginning to realize the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, House leaders chose to pursue politics instead of better care: by repealing a law the nation urgently needs.

The ACA is ushering in an era in which women can access affordable coverage, and insurers cannot charge women more because of gender — or deny or cap our coverage when we get sick. It is making screenings for breast and cervical cancer available without deductibles or co-pays, making family planning services more accessible, and outlawing gender discrimination in insurance. And it is ending the days when young adult children were kicked off their parents' insurance policies, and when the preventive services that can keep patients healthier were out-of-reach for millions.

That is why the vote in the House of Representatives to repeal health care reform was such a deep disappointment.

That vote was politicking and posturing at a time when Americans urgently need is progress on jobs, the economy, creating more fair and family-friendly workplaces, and finishing the work to give every person quality, affordable health care. The nation will be much better off if this vote marks the end of this political theater, and our lawmakers now return to solving the urgent problems facing America's families.

Your Senators need to hear from you. Urge them to stand strong and support health reform — a huge advance for women. Urge the Senate to prioritize women's health — rather than trying to unravel reform — so we can protect and build on its critical advances for women and families.


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