August 2, 2013 — Leaders of the House Pro-Choice Caucus on Thursday celebrated the one-year anniversary of women's preventive services coverage without copayments under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), calling the law the "single greatest advancement in women's health in a generation," The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Seligman, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/1).
When the provision took effect on Aug. 1, 2012, roughly 47 million women nationwide were enrolled in health plans that began covering many preventive services without copays or deductibles. The coverage applies to contraceptive services and supplies, domestic violence screening and counseling services, advanced screenings for cervical cancer and human papillomavirus for women ages 30 and older, counseling for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, screening for gestational diabetes for pregnant women, comprehensive coverage of breastfeeding equipment and support, and at least one annual preventive health exam (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/1/12).
In Thursday's statement, Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) applauded the requirement that most employers must provide contraceptive coverage in their workers' health plans. They criticized the House GOP's repeated attempts to repeal the ACA, saying, "It's time for the House Majority to stop trying to take benefits away from women."
The contraceptive coverage requirement has resulted in a multitude of legal challenges from employers that object to the mandate. Although the Obama administration created exceptions for religiously affiliated not-for-profits, the religious owners of some for-profit businesses continue to call for their own accommodations. Courts to date have reached differing opinions, increasing the likelihood that the issue will reach the Supreme Court ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/1).