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HealthyWomen, Allies to Congress: Ensure 55 Million U.S. Women Receive Continued Preventive Care

HealthyWomen in the News

Denying women access to care has life or death consequences

WASHINGTON—With the future of health care at stake, 55 million women could lose access to 26 critical preventive care services.

Under current law, health plans provide 26 preventive care services to women at no out-of-pocket expense. Gutting this coverage would deny millions from accessing critical health services, including gestational diabetes testing, HIV and HPV tests, Pap smears, mammograms, breastfeeding support and domestic violence screening.

The fight to "Keep the Care" has never been more important.

Women's Access to Preventive Care is Not Just a Priority—but a Necessity

On July 20, HealthyWomen hosted a congressional briefing to drive home the consequences of Congress rolling back coverage requirements for women's preventive health care services.

The event—a part of HealthyWomen's Keep the Care nationwide advocacy campaign—convened panelists from HealthyWomenNational Hispanic Medical Association and the Black Women's Health Imperative to address the current policy landscape and the threat to all women if preventive care is denied.

Among the briefing's key takeaways:

Women are at higher risk for diseases and infections like breast cancer, heart disease and HPV:
"Prevention is a fundamental aspect of what health care should cover because of what it does, how it works and how it leads to better health," – Mike Miller, MD, HealthyWomen's senior health policy advisor

  • Invasive breast cancer is diagnosed in >230,000 women a year
  • HPV infection occurs in >290,000 women
  • Heart disease kills 25% of women

More Latina women have access to health care today than ever before:
"36 percent of Latinas were uninsured before the 2010 implementation of the ACA—but today, 8.8 million Latinas have preventive care. The ACA has been a game changer for Latinas," – Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, FACP, president & CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association

  • The Latina community experienced a 25% drop in those who delayed or rejected care due to cost

Preventive care matters for black women:
"Without access to certain preventive services, we could lose 20,000-24,000 [black] women needlessly every year," – Linda Goler Blount, MPH, president & CEO of the Black Women's Health Imperative

  • Today, 4 million more black women are insured, and the uninsured rate has dropped 40%
  • The # of black women not reporting medical issues due to lack of insurance has dropped 20%

Preventive care saves the U.S. health care system billions of dollars:
"Women's preventive services more than pays for themselves in lower costs to the health system," – Phyllis Greenberger, MSW, HealthyWomen's senior vice president for science and health policy

  • $322 billion for pre-diabetes, diabetes
  • $16.5 billion for breast cancer
  • $5.9 billion for HIV/HPV
  • Up to $100,000 per patient for cervical cancer treatment

Keep the Care, an initiative launched in March 2017 by MSLGROUP and HealthyWomen, is a nationwide advocacy effort to demand that no-cost coverage of 26 women's preventive healthcare services remain available to women.

"If ever there was an issue that fits the mission of Healthy Women, it's preserving the 26 preventive care services that are now available under the Affordable Care Act," Greenberger concluded.

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