By Kendra McCormick
Please join HERvotes, a campaign to encourage women to go to the ballot box to protect their health and economic rights!
Throughout the economic crisis, many successful policies that improve women’s economic security and ensure our access to health care have been put in jeopardy. Even our right to vote is being attacked. However, I feel most threatened by the proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
It is easy for me to see how the Affordable Care Act affects both me and the people that I care about. As a recent college graduate, it has comforted me to know that I can stay on my parents’ health insurance plan until I obtain my own health benefits. Furthermore, a family member has struggled with health issues in the past and will soon need to find a new health insurance policy. Under the Affordable Care Act, her pre-existing conditions will not prevent her from obtaining the health insurance that she needs. Yet it is not just my family and I that benefit; countless other women are also assisted by this legislation.
The Affordable Care Act ensures that people with most pre-existing conditions will be able to acquire health insurance, defrays the costs of preventive care, and prohibits monetary limits on coverage of essential benefits. These provisions, in addition to numerous others, can particularly benefit women.
Preventive health services for women include mammograms, cervical cancer screening, contraception, flu shots, HIV screening, breastfeeding support, and domestic violence screening. The prohibition on coverage limits protects women with chronic conditions. Another provision allows young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they are 26. Like me, other young women, who are more likely than any other group of women to lack health insurance, are already benefiting from this policy. These are just several of many examples of the value of the Affordable Care Act for women.
In response to recent attacks on historic policies that benefit women, including the Affordable Care Act, a coalition of women’s organizations is launching HERvotes to recognize and protect historic victories for women. The launch is linked to Women’s Equality Day, August 26th, when the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote. It also coincides with the 1963 March on Washington and the unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.
I hope that HERvotes persuades other women to seek out more information about the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, helps them understand the significance of these protections, and encourages them to vote for candidates who are committed to protecting and advancing health care reform.
Kendra McCormick is a 2011 graduate of George Washington University and Program and Policy Intern at the National Council of Women’s Organizations.
For more information on HERvotes and the list of historic laws at risk, please reference http://msmagazine.com/HERvote/.