Today, a series of new health insurance regulations under the Affordable Care Act go into effect, in particular the free (i.e., no co-pay) preventive services for women’s health. And both the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress are in the midst of a full-court press to let everyone know about it. Here’s Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy Pelosi sharing the news in USA Today:
Starting Wednesday, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, all new insurance policies will be required to cover the vital care women need to stay healthy without charging a fee to the patient. As a result, millions of women will soon be able to walk into their doctor’s office and get preventive services such as an annual well-woman visit without paying a dollar out of pocket [...]
Beginning Wednesday, all new insurance plans will be required to cover additional services and screenings for women without cost to the patient. These include services that are essential to helping women stay healthy — such as domestic violence screening, FDA-approved contraception, breastfeeding support and supplies, gestational diabetes screening, HPV testing, sexually transmitted infection counseling, and HIV screening. That’s on top of other potentially life-saving services such as cholesterol screenings and flu shots that many private plans and Medicare have already begun covering with no co-pay thanks to the law [...]
Thanks to the health care law, women will no longer have to put off prevention. No woman should have to choose between seeing her doctor and putting food on the table for her family. Now, many women won’t have to make that choice.
Harry Reid highlighted the women’s health preventive services regulations in a HuffPo op-ed.
The contraceptive insurance coverage mandate, which is in a bit of jeopardy after a judge’s ruling in Colorado, has been highlighted more strongly than the other regulations. But the annual well-woman visit, various screenings, breastfeeding support and supplies and flu shots are all pretty important.
One of the better facets of the Affordable Care Act was this focus on prevention, as a means toward cost control. America happens to be as sick as its ever been, with one out of every five citizens suffering from a chronic health condition. At least some of these ailments are due to inattention to annual preventive care and maintenance. And making that care free will, in theory, enable people to adopt it more frequently. One of the most frequent diseases, diabetes, is among those available for free screening now, under the law.
Obviously, Democrats are using this in electoral terms, contrasting the benefits with the Republican war on women. But the best politics does require an articulation of benefits endowed by one party or another. Call it public relations if you will. But one of the big impediments to progressive governance in America is the nagging feeling among the citizenry that people don’t get anything out of their contributions to the commons in the form of taxes. Free preventive health services, mandated as part of everyone’s insurance coverage, at least shows some tangible good.