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Democratic Committee Report Highlights Significant Improvement in Women’s Access to Healthcare Under the ACA

Dec 14, 2016
Press Release
Republican repeal plans threaten to reverse the real progress made for women nationwide

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released a report today showing the significant improvements in women’s access to healthcare as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  This progress is under threat as President-elect Donald J. Trump and Congressional Republicans remain determined to repeal the ACA and all its protections. 

The report, titled “Turning Back the Clock:  Republican Plans to Repeal the Affordable Care Act Will Reverse Progress for Women,” finds that in nearly every state and for nearly every metric analyzed, women reported significant improvements in access to healthcare following implementation of the ACA.  Additionally, women in states that chose to expand Medicaid experienced even greater improvements in coverage and care. 

“This report shows that women in every state are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act,” Pallone said.  “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act more women are insured and are receiving essential preventive care that is critical to their long-term health and wellness.  Unfortunately, Republican plans to repeal the ACA would seriously jeopardize the progress we’ve made to ensure women have fair and equal access to healthcare. We cannot go back to a time when women are discriminated against by their insurance companies, forced to pay higher healthcare premiums, and denied access to preventive services that are making a real difference to their overall health.” 

The Committee report released today highlights some of the significant improvements that the ACA has made in key women’s health metrics between 2012 and 2014 including:  

  • Significant reductions among low-income women (defined as women making annual salaries of $25,000 or less) in the uninsured rate.  The uninsured rate decreased by an average of 7.9 percent in the states that expanded Medicaid, while it decreased by an average of 6.5 percent in states that opted not to expand Medicaid.
  • Minority women in all 50 states and the District of Columbia experienced large, historic gains in coverage since the implementation of the ACA.  The uninsured rate for Black women fell by 6.5 percent nationwide, while the rate for Hispanic women decreased by 8.9 percent.
  • The number of low-income women unable to see a doctor because of cost dropped significantly between 2012 and 2014, with more dramatic declines in Medicaid expansion states. 
  • More women across the country were able to have regular checkups.  Nationally, the percentage of low-income women who reported receiving an annual checkup increased from 66 percent in 2012 to 69.2 percent in 2014.  
  • More pregnant women across the country received prenatal care in the first trimester, with the percentage of women increasing from 74.1 percent in 2012 to 76.7 percent in 2014.
  • Nationally, the percentage of low-income women between the ages of 50 and 74 who reported receiving a mammogram in the past two years increased from 67.8 percent in 2012 to 72 percent in 2014.

The passage of the ACA dramatically reformed accessibility, quality and affordability of health coverage in our nation.  The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in health programs receiving federal dollars.  Individual and small group health plans also cannot use gender to determine premiums.  Prior to the ACA, women routinely paid significantly higher health care premiums than men for their health insurance, and, according to the National Women’s Health Center, were charged as much as 85 percent more than men for the same health insurance policies.

The ACA also reformed the individual markets to ensure that plans meet women’s healthcare needs.  All individual and small group market plans are now required to cover a series of Essential Health Benefits, which include maternity and newborn care.  Health insurance plans are also required to cover recommended preventive health services without copays or deductibles, removing financial barriers to important healthcare services.   

A copy of the report, including state-by-state fact sheets is available here.