NHeLP Attorneys Urge Protection of Services Critical to Women’s Health
Washington — In announcing updates to the women’s preventive services guidelines, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) affirmed the important rights of women to access preventive care services, including contraception, at no-cost under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“These updates are important to women across the country. Unfortunately, we face a new and hostile landscape, with an incoming administration and right-wing Congress threatening to destroy health care reform, including the rights of all women to access quality reproductive care,” said Susan Berke Fogel, NHeLP director of reproductive health. “All who cherish fundamental rights and liberty must fight repeal of the ACA. Birth control in particular is a basic health service, critical to women’s health, well-being, and self-sufficiency.”
The updates are a result of a cooperative agreement with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which launched the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative to engage a coalition of national health professional organizations with expertise in women’s health to develop, review, and update evidence-based recommendations for women’s preventive health care services. As part of the guidelines, HRSA has reaffirmed that contraception is integral, preventive care for women.
Six years after enactment of the ACA, more than 55 million women have private insurance that covers no-cost birth control. With the incoming administration threatening repeal of the ACA, a 2016 Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows comprehensive reproductive care is popular, and 77 percent of women support requiring health insurance plans to cover the full cost of birth control. “Access to birth control without barriers or cost-sharing is overwhelmingly popular among women,” said Agata Pelka, NHeLP staff attorney. “We will continue to work to ensure women do not lose this critical service.”
Many states have built upon this coverage by enacting Contraceptive Equity laws, based on NHeLP’s model legislation, that further close gaps, improve access to a full range of contraceptive methods, and ensure that individuals have access to their choice of contraception without barriers, delays, or cost sharing. NHeLP is available to support state policy makers interested in advancing access to comprehensive health care for low-income individuals and underserved communities.
These recommendations from a second body of experts support access to quality health care, which must include comprehensive reproductive care. Protections for preventive services, like all other aspects of the ACA, must be preserved.
Founded in 1969, NHeLP advocates for the rights of low-income and underserved people to access quality health care.