As a mother of two, I know the challenges faced by millions of American women when it comes to keeping our families healthy and safe. That’s why as a Member of Congress it has always been one of my top priorities to ensure women have access to affordable healthcare and it’s why we have so much to celebrate now, during National Women’s Health Week.
With the help of my Democratic colleagues and President Obama’s strong leadership, today women of all ages have more choices, greater coverage, and better control over their own healthcare because of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act two years ago.
Because of the ACA, over 20 million women nationwide have received preventative services such as mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and pre-natal tests without a co-pay or out-of-pocket expenses. Just my Congressional district, over 60,000 women have benefitted from this provision in the law.
It used to be that a healthy 22-year-old woman could be charged premiums 150% higher than a 22-year-old man. The ACA ends this unconscionable insurance industry practice.
It also prohibits denying women and children coverage because of a “pre-existing condition.” No longer will insurance companies be able to label women who have had Caesarean sections or who have been victims of domestic violence as “pre-existing conditions,” and deny or drop their coverage at any moment.
What’s more, for mothers, the ACA ensures coverage of maternity benefits which are often not provided in health plans in the individual insurance market. Moms can also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing their children have coverage after graduation, even if they can’t immediately find a job. Healthcare reform requires insurers to permit parents to retain coverage for their children until they reach age 26. Over 2.5 million young adults nationwide have been able to gain insurance coverage, and over 6,100 young adults in our district have healthcare because of the ACA.
I’m overjoyed to say that this year, on the heels of Mother’s Day, we have so much to celebrate. As a nation, we have taken great strides to ensure that women lead healthy lives and have access to healthcare.
But with so much to celebrate, so much also remains at stake. We must band together to protect the care of women from the political games that threaten to take away important benefits. The Supreme Court will make their decision about America’s healthcare next month and should any or all of the law be repealed or rolled back, millions of Americans—both men and women—will lose critical healthcare benefits.
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, women of all ages will lose the privileges of maternity care, low-cost access to birth control, prescription drug benefits, and preventative services. We cannot leave these women at the mercy of the insurance companies.
This week, stand with me and millions of Americans as we bring together women, health care providers, and all citizens who save on healthcare costs to celebrate the many ways in which the Affordable Care Act is working for the nation. Together, we can help women take steps for longer, healthier and happier lives.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney represents New York’s 14th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. The district includes most of the East Side of Manhattan and neighboring cities including Astoria, Long Island City, parts of Woodside and all of Roosevelt Island.
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