ACA and Women

How the Affordable Care Act Impacts Women

Nothing is more of a hot-button topic these days than Obamacare.  The site’s not working, people’s insurance is being cancelled, and according to conservatives, the country will not withstand the financial burden.

We wanted to investigate how this new law would really affect our readers–who’re mostly women. We’re curious about the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act, and whether we’re better off or not as this new goes into effect January 1, 2014.

Affordable Care Act & Women By the Numbers:

Women are particularly at risk, with over 17 million women uninsured. Women often rely on a spouse for health coverage, and should they become widowed or divorced, they are susceptible to losing  that insurance.

Michelle Burton became president of Run Women Run, a pro-choice organization that supports, recruits, trains, and mentors women for elected and appointed office in San Diego County. Burton is also managing partner of Shoecraft Burton, a civil litigation law firm.

We spoke to her about the ACA to see if it was actually a better deal for women or not. What exactly would change? And why she doesn’t believe women should refer to it as Obamacare.

Burton on: The Affordable Care Act & Women

1. Under the new law women will no longer have to pay any co-pay charges for our annual physicals–that includes pap smears and mammograms for women over 40 years old.

2. The days of gender discrimination rates are over. Where women were once charged more by health insurance companies, because of maternity needs for example, this is no longer possible.

3. If you had an HMO, women once needed referrals for their OBGN physicians, not with ACA.

4. Infertility treatments was once something only the very wealthy could afford to have. It was excluded from almost every plan, as it was considered a pre-existing condition. Although, this hasn’t been ironed out completely, in Massachusetts, the state that set the template for the federal ACA, infertility is covered for women if it’s defined as a medical condition–endomitriosis for example.

5. Women of color: According to a new report by the Center for American Progress (PDF), women of color account for more than half of uninsured women in the United States–Both one in four African-American women and one in four Asian-American women are uninsured. And more than one-in-three Latinas lack health care coverage. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts that more than 8.5 million women of color will gain the ability to access affordable or subsidized health care through the Health Insurance Marketplace, including 4.6 million Latinasthree million African-Americans, and 970,000 Asian-Americans.

So, if you’re a woman, this new law could literally change your life.

Affordable Care Act Myth Busters:

1. This is not a single payer system. Yes you have to have insurance, just like you do for your car, but the insurance marketplace offers competitive pricing for healthcare.

2. There are no lifetime caps on coverage–like many insurance policies once in effect.

3. You will not lose your healthcare–UNLESS you have a policy carried by a company that doesn’t meet the government’s minimal standard to qualify for the ACA marketplace.

“We’re the one of the only (industrialized) countries is the world that didn’t have affordable healthcare available for everyone. Other countries consider it a human right,” Burton says. Michelle Burton with Hillary Clinton at a Run Women Run VIP luncheon

The truth is American women need to dig a little deeper into what’s important to our healthcare, and get the facts.

“The right has done a great job demonizing the law by calling it Obamacare, and attaching all these scary things to it. But if you asked people about having an affordable government healthcare program that was available to everyone, including the poor, uninsured, students, and women, they’d probable say it was a great idea.

“Burton also mentions those political groups who’ve tried to squelch the law’s progress as hypocritical. “Those guys (it’s mostly men as the numbers of women in Congress is plummeted since 1992), argue against Obamacare, but would be outraged if you attempted to take away Social Security or Medicare.”

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