March 24, 2015 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers from the National Partnership for Women & Families, Ms. Magazine and more.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ANNIVERSARY: "The Affordable Care Act: Five Years of Progress, and More To Come," Debra Ness, National Partnership for Women & Families blog: On this week's "fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act [PL 111-148], millions of women and families across our country finally have affordable health coverage and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your health and the health of your family is secure," National Partnership President Ness writes. Ness explains that the law has made "enormous progress ... with respect to improving access to coverage and care," noting that about "16.4 million previously uninsured individuals have gained coverage" since the law took effect. Further, she outlines several ways the ACA has improved health coverage for women, including that "women can no longer be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or chronic illness and cannot be charged more than men for their health insurance simply because of gender." In addition, she notes that women who enroll in coverage through the ACA's marketplace are now "guaranteed maternity care services, amongst other key health services," and that "[m]ost private insurance plans ... are required to cover a wide range of preventive health services without cost-sharing," such as well-woman visits, screenings for various cancers and contraception (Ness, National Partnership blog, 3/23).
What others are saying about the ACA's anniversary:
~ "The 5 Best Things Obamacare Has Done for Women," Stephanie Hallet, Ms. Magazine blog.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Judge Strikes Down Scott Walker's Anti-Abortion Law," Igor Volsky, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": A judge on Friday struck down a Wisconsin law (Act 37) "that requires doctors performing abortions to secure admission privileges to nearby hospitals, temporarily blocking it," Volsky writes. According to Volsky, the judge ruled that the law violated the 14th Amendment, stating in his decision that "'[t]he marginal benefit to women's health of requiring hospital admitting privileges, if any, is substantially outweighed by the burden this requirement will have on women's health outcomes due to restricted access.'" Volsky explains that the judge's opinion noted "that there is no medical need for doctors to maintain admitting privileges and pointed out that 'less than 0.65% of patients experienced a complication after an abortion and that only 0.06% required hospitalization as a result.'" However, "a spokesperson for [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker [R] promised to appeal the decision," he adds (Volsky, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 3/21).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Illinois Bill Would Subject Abortion Clinics to Medically Unnecessary Restrictions," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check.
~ "Arkansas GOP Makes Obtaining Abortions for Teen Rape Survivors More Burdensome," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check.
HYDE AMENDMENT: "New Hyde Amendment Controversy Brews in Congress Over Medicare Funding Bill," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check: Congress is again debating the inclusion of Hyde Amendment language in a bipartisan bill, this time over a measure aimed at resolving a problematic formula that Medicare uses to set physician reimbursement rates, Crockett writes, noting that congressional lawmakers recently were debating the inclusion of antiabortion-rights language in a human trafficking measure (S 178). According to Crockett, the latest debate centers on a "compromise plan in the House to fix the broken formula [that] also includes Hyde Amendment language that prohibits funding for abortion at community health clinics." Crockett notes that many lawmakers who support abortion rights have criticized the provision, as have abortion-rights groups such as the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. According to Crockett, advocates are concerned that including the language "would set an alarming precedent for expanding Hyde even further" (Crockett, RH Reality Check, 3/20).
CPCs: "Michigan Senate Approves Bill To Fund Crisis Pregnancy Centers," Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check: "Michigan state senators on Wednesday approved a bill [SB 84] to increase state support for so-called crisis pregnancy centers, anti-choice organizations that seek to deter pregnant people from going through with abortions," Liss-Schultz writes. Specifically, she notes that the bill "would create a state-run program in which the money raised from the sale of license plates reading 'Choose Life' would be allocated to nonprofit organizations that promote alternatives to abortion," including CPCs. Liss-Schultz cites a NARAL Pro-Choice California report that found CPCs used "deceptive tactics" to dissuade women from having abortions, adding that "abortion access advocates have noted that the centers, which often intentionally disguise themselves as abortion clinics, do anything but ... support women." Further, Liss-Schultz notes that conservative Michigan lawmakers "shot down amendments to SB 84 that would have mitigated the proposal's effects, including one to create a 'Women's Health' license plate, and another to use the proceeds from the 'Choose Life' plates to fund infant mortality reduction efforts in the state" (Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check, 3/20).