Unless you live under a rock with expensive sound proof buffers, you know that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Healthcare Act on June 28. You’ve also probably heard the cheers of joy from those who think everything Obama does is holy, and cries of outrage from those who think a step towards universal healthcare is a step away from the oh-so-precious American dream.
But here’s what you might not have heard: Obama care is a victory for American women. All of them, whether they be liberals, conservatives or UFO enthusiasts. When we think about the woman’s movement, we think about the struggle for equality in the work force, or in family dynamics. It often goes overlooked that there are other kinds of sex-based discrimination to be fought, a huge one being the issue of feminine healthcare. For years, women have gone without necessary services such as mammograms because health insurance won’t cover them; mean while, those same health insurance policies cover the purchase of Viagra for men. The Affordable Healthcare Act demolishes a plethora of sex-based healthcare injustices. So without further ado, here’s what you might not have heard about Obama Care.
Women will no longer pay higher rates simply because they have a vagina. Until now, womanhood has been considered a pre-existing condition. Except, I don’t really like using that term for it, because of course your sex is a pre-existing condition, unless you’ve recently undergone some drastic surgeries and hormone treatments. What health insurance companies really mean about your sex, ladies, is that it’s a pre-existing flaw. An inconvenience. And because of that, you have to pay more for healthcare. Why? Because you might get breast cancer. Or ovarian cancer. Or worse, you might get pregnant, and insurance companies don’t want to pay for your prenatal care and delivery– of course, they don’t want to pay for your birth control either, so you were just out of luck if you couldn’t afford this higher rates. The Affordable Healthcare Act eliminates that injustice. That means women who don’t want children will no longer be penalized for having a uterus they don’t even intend to utilize, and women who do won’t be punished for bearing the burden of child-birth. About time.
Conditions related to childbirth will no longer prevent women from getting private health insurance. A large part of our culture is still so convinced that a woman’s highest calling is being a mother, yet our healthcare system has been designed to give as little support to mothers as possible. Pregnancy, postpartum depression, and having had a C-section are all factors that could disqualify a woman from getting a private healthcare plan. While motherhood is certainly not a woman’s highest or only calling, it is a part of life for thousands of women, so to use it as a weapon against them is disgusting and absurd. Obama care prevents private insurance companies from denying women coverage simply because they decided to be mothers.
Women no longer need a permission slip to see their OB/GYN of choice. As of now, many healthcare plans don’t cover OB/GYN services. Those that do, often assign women to an OB/GYN, and if they want to see a different one they have to get a written referral– and in some cases, they need a referral to see an OB/GYN at all. This is ridiculous on a number of levels. First of all, seeing an OB/GYNis not a luxury, it’s a necessity for
anyone with a vagina. The vagina is a pretty complicated organ and needs care from a specialist if a woman is going to stay healthy. Not only that, but it’s a pretty intimate and important organ; I think that gives women the right to be choosy about who is going to go poking around in it with a flash light. Let women get the medical care they need, and let them decide who delivers it.
Many woman-specific services will no longer require a co-payment. Mammograms, domestic violence counseling, breast-feeding support, prenatal care and well-woman’s doctors visits are all services that women need… and with Obama care, women will be able to receive them without providing an extra co-payment. This is hugely significant because thousands of women will no longer be going without the care they need to maintain their basic health simply because they cannot afford it.
Planned Parenthood is calling the Affordable Healthcare act the biggest step in women’s healthcare in a generation, and they’re right. It’s also among the biggest victories this generation has won for the women’s movement, because the current state of health insurance policies is just as damaging as the glass ceiling that restricts women in the professional world.
So regardless of your political standing, regardless of your feelings towards Obama, and no matter how much you resent paying taxes… put that aside and acknowledge the Affordable Healthcare Act for what it is. It’s the shattering of another kind of glass ceiling. It’s a victory for all American woman. It’s a step in the right direction.