Supreme Court Ruling Is a Victory for Women

Gloria Lau, CEO of YWCA USA

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a victory for all Americans, particularly for women. Now that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been found to be valid under the U.S. Constitution, millions of individuals will be covered by health insurance for the first time – leading to better health outcomes and lower costs for women and their families.

The ACA has already provided significant benefits to women and children and more protections are on the horizon once all of the provisions of the ACA take effect. The list of tangible benefits for female patients is extensive beginning with the fact that women no longer have to pay a co-pay or deductible for basic, preventive care like mammograms, pap smears and prenatal care. Starting this August, women of all socioeconomic backgrounds will be able to obtain contraception, visit their gynecologist annually, be screened for gestational diabetes, get breastfeeding counseling and supplies and be screened for sexually transmitted infections – all at no extra or out-of-pocket cost. These ACA provisions will save lives and money, promote health and prevent acute illness in the long run.

This Act also abolishes unfair pre-existing condition limitations that hurt women in particular. Previously, insurance companies could classify domestic violence, cesarean sections and cancer as preexisting conditions and deny women coverage. According to a story in Kaiser Health News, the National Women’s Law Center found that, even excluding maternity coverage, nearly one-third of the most commonly sold insurance plans charged women aged 25 to 40 at least 30 percent more than men for the same coverage. Thanks to the ACA, these discriminatory policies will no longer be legal, nor will higher premiums based solely on gender. Under the new law, companies are also banned from denying health insurance coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition. For young adults getting out of college with no jobs or health coverage, one of the most popular provisions of the law allows young adults under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ plans.

YWCA applauds the Supreme Court for its ruling and urges the swift implementation of the much-needed benefits of this law. We sincerely hope that the U.S. Congress and the states will fully implement the ACA without further legislative maneuvering to delay these provisions that will benefit every woman and family in the country.