August 13, 2012 — Under a provision in the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) that took effect Aug. 1, "a woman's decision about obtaining preventive health care will no longer hinge on her ability to pay," former Iowa Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson (D) writes in a Des Moines Register opinion piece.
"The benefit encompasses not only contraception, but well-woman visits; breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling; screening for gestational diabetes; screening and counseling for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; and screening and counseling for domestic partner violence," Pederson notes.
She writes, "Over the next few years, as more health plans come under the law, more women will gain access to reliable birth control with no copay," adding that "[s]tudies show a direct link between increased access to contraception and declines in maternal and infant mortality."
Despite the benefits of affordable birth control, some opponents continue their efforts to restrict coverage. "Not only is this bad public policy, it's also an intrusion into women's private health decisions," Pederson argues. She concludes, "Access to affordable preventive care is especially important for women, who are more likely than men to go without needed care because of cost" (Pederson, Des Moines Register, 8/8).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership