Health reform prioritizes preventive care, to keep people healthier for longer and to reduce costs. For women, contraception and birth control services are basic preventive care. They are safe, effective and promote good health. More than half of women of reproductive age — some 36 million women — needed contraceptive services and supplies in 2008, and 17.4 million of them needed publicly funded contraception. For these women, eliminating expensive co-pays is the key to ensuring they have access to the care they need. The IOM’s scientific committee has now recommended doing just that.
A scientific committee has spoken, and the debate over women’s health coverage should end. So, too, should the days when politics trumps science in health care decisions. We urge lawmakers, no matter their personal views, to accept these recommendations. The Department of Health & Human Services must waste no time in adopting the IOM recommendations and ensuring that women are able to access birth control and contraception without fees or co-pays.
America’s women — and everyone who cares about us — owe a debt of gratitude to Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and to all who joined her in championing the Women’s Health Amendment to health reform. Improving women’s access to family planning and contraception will improve women’s health, reduce unintended pregnancy, and strengthen families. It will help us realize the promise of reform."
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.