White House Announces Preventive Services Covered Under Affordable Care Act
The White House will announce today which preventative services are free under the new health care law, according to the Wall Street Journal. Under these new regulations, certain preventive procedures, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, tobacco cessation services, and obesity prevention services, will not require a copayment or other direct costs starting in September. According to the new regulations, which were based on recommendations from groups including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, birth control does not count as a preventive service.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America hopes to get birth control included in a separate set of regulations specifically for women's health. Those regulations are expected to be released in the coming months, reports the Wall Street Journal. Laurie Rubiner, Planned Parenthood's vice president of public policy, told Politico earlier this month that it is important to "ensure that this part of women's health is covered under preventive health."
Under the new regulations, mammograms will count as a free preventive service at age 40. This regulation ignores a recommendation released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force last year, which advised that women wait until 50 to start receiving annual mammograms.
Due to the current costs, Americans use preventive services at approximately half the suggested rate, according to the Wall Street Journal. Free preventive services are among the tangible benefits of the healthcare overhaul.
President Obama signed the final version of the Affordable Care Act in March. The final law will eventually add coverage for 32 million people, increasing access to family planning and preventive care.
Media Resources: Wall Street Journal 7/14/10; Politico 6/1/10
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .