These past couple weeks have been full of ups and downs in the world of women’s health and policy. Let’s review, shall we?
Let’s start with the ups!
The Institute of Medicine recommended to the Department of Health and Human Services that health insurance should add birth control to the list of preventative care services, allowing prescriptions and devices to be covered without co-payments. Such a move would increase access to contraceptive options, allowing each woman to choose the birth control that works best for her. Not only would this coverage be a huge step forward in the protection and promotion of woman’s rights, general well-being and healthy communities, but it would also end up saving insurers and health systems millions of dollars by preventing unintended pregnancies and their pricey consequences. In an amazingly happy, if surprising (given the current conservative-leaning political atmosphere) turn of events, the Department of Health and Human Services took the IOM’s suggestion and will be implementing this woman and family-friendly coverage starting next year!
Furthermore, the Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act was introduced in the House and Senate on July 26th, and if passed will ensure that every woman has access to birth control – regardless of her pharmacist’s opinion on the drugs. These bill introductions and policy changes are a huge and historic step forward for women’s health.
And now the downs ...
Despite this happy addition to the preventative services covered by insurance companies, the world of politics is currently an unhappy one. Congress has been spending most of its time raising the American public’s blood pressure with their back-and-forth squabbling and reluctance to compromise about whether to raise the national debt limit and how to go about settling on the details.