Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced their new guidelines for women’s health care coverage. There will be many changes, the most notable being full coverage of birth control pills under all private insurance plans.
As of August 1st, 2012, private insurance companies must cover preventative services for women without co-pay. According to White House advisor Stephanie Cutter, “We know that half of women, according to studies, forego or delay preventive care because they can’t afford it and under the affordable care act that all changes.” Hopefully this situation will change for the better as of August 2012.
This decision comes in the wake of a well-publicized, sexist rant from commentator Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly spoke out against access to no-cost birth control, saying that “Many women who get pregnant are blasted out of their minds when they have sex, and they’re not going to use birth control anyway.” Luckily, common sense overcame such negative and derogatory rhetoric.
These new guidelines are a big step toward accessible healthcare for all women in the US. We join NARAL Pro-Choice America in applauding the Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for looking past stereotypes and misinformation about contraception and making improvement of women’s healthcare a top priority.
As Ms. Cutter noted, “Today is about keeping women healthy.”