Latina Mothers Hope Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law
Happy to see my op-ed at FOX News Latino. I'd love to hear your comments! -Elisa
The suspense continues on how the Supreme Court will render its ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. If the ruling upholds the law, then millions of families across the nation will continue to benefit from the many provisions in the health care reform law, including access to preventing care, coverage for pre-existing conditions, and letting adult-aged children stay on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26.
These consumer protections are needed because access to healthcare coverage is critical to saving taxpayer funds. People need to be able to get early and consistent healthcare treatment so that illnesses don't become catastrophic in both health and expenses. The ability to get prevention and early care not only helps families, it also saves money and keeps people in the labor force.
According to the White House, an astonishing 9 million Latinos could gain health care coverage thanks to the health care reform. Since its passage two years ago, Latina mothers from all over the country have written to MomsRising.org – an online and on-the-ground advocacy group with over one million members -- to share how the health care reform law has helped make their families stronger and healthier.
Take the case of Ms. Lúz Villafana, a grandmother in California who had breast cancer. Ms. Villafana celebrated that the health care reform law mandated her health insurance company not to cancel her benefits or put a cap on coverage because of her illness.
Indeed there are millions of Latinas across the country who have so much at stake. Often, as moms, we’re so busy taking care of everyone else that we forget to take care of ourselves. But taking care of ourselves is an important part of being a parent.
The health care reform law requires all new health insurance plans to cover certain preventive health care services without cost-sharing. This is critically important as women tend to have more preventive health needs and lower incomes than men. The list of required benefits includes services such as: mammograms, screenings for cancer, gestational diabetes, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, and domestic violence, lactation and breastfeeding support and equipment, well-woman visits, and contraception.
And the great news is that Latinas are taking advantage of these critical prevention services. Since the law was passed, 736,000 Latinos who are younger than 26 have gained health care coverage. In addition, $103 million in community transformation grants have been awarded to 61 municipalities to fight chronic disease on the community level, and additional funds are slated to support16,000 community health centers across the country, which cater to uninsured communities.
For many, having these preventive services makes an enormous difference. A report by the Commonwealth Fund found that in 2009 more than half of women delayed or avoided preventive care because of its cost; double the number who put off preventive care just two years earlier. Yet, removing cost sharing requirements improves women’s access to important preventive services. One study found that the rate of women getting a mammogram went up by as much as 9% when cost sharing was removed.
Take a look at the case Mrs. Donna Rodríguez from Los Angeles. Since the Affordable Care Act has passed, Mrs. Rodríguez has had a mammogram which was paid in full by her insurance. Moreover, her small business employer is receiving a tax credit for the insurance premiums the company pays for all employees. It’s a win-win situation for all of us.
Indeed, the Affordable Care Act has already made a tremendous difference in the lives of women around the country. Having the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the health care reform sends the message that we put strong and healthy families at the forefront in our nation.