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Health Care Reform: Ten Ways It Affects Women

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Why is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi smiling from ear to ear? Because she and Barack Obama managed to usher through the passage of the health care reform bill that’s been vehemently debated for, oh, months. It has lots of us talking about what exactly the bill will mean for women. The phrases “bad for women” and “good for women” are not my favorite, because we don’t actually all share one brain and think the same thing. So rather than declare anything good, bad, or eh—I’ll just explain and let you guys battle it out in the comments.


1. Overall, the health care bill will extend insurance to thirty-two million Americans who are currently uninsured. It will do this by adding people to Medicaid, subsidizing insurance premiums for low and middle class families, penalizing employers for not offering health care, and creating a state-by-state marketplace where people can shop for reasonably priced, private insurance plans if they are not covered by one of the above measures.


2. Effective as soon as the bill is signed into law, it is now illegal for insurance companies to continue industry practices that make health care more expensive for women than it is for men.


3. For all you out there who have yet to celebrate your twenty-seventh birthday, you will now be able to stay on your parents’ health care plan instead of having to get your own.


4. For moms of kids with pre-existing conditions, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to anyone under the age of nineteen. By 2014, they won’t be able to deny coverage to anyone because of a pre-existing condition.


5. Along the same lines, it is now illegal for insurance companies to drop coverage if a person gets sick.


6. Insurance companies will now be required to cover higher percentages of both family planning and maternity care costs.


7. Tanning beds with ultraviolet lamps will now be taxed. Yes, random, but none of us should be using them anyway.


8. Preventative care, including breast and cervical cancer screenings, will now be guaranteed.


9. Pelosi has called the bill “abortion neutral,” but one compromise made in order to pass the bill requires Obama to sign an executive order stating that federal funds cannot be used for abortions. While many are angry about this, it’s less stringent wording than in previous versions of the bill, which stated that federal or private insurance companies couldn’t cover abortion at all.


10. Also on the abortion tip, a weird provision in the bill requires companies participating in the insurance marketplace to send out two bills—one for regular insurance and a separate one for “abortion” insurance. Some think this could drum up anti-abortion fervor to a fever pitch.


Are you happy to see the health care bill pass?


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Originally published on The Frisky

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