MSLGROUP and HealthyWomen's KeepTheCare campaign held a social summit Oct. 16 in NYC to support women's preventive health care on the heels of an Oct. 12 executive order from President Trump intended to weaken the Affordable Care Act's health coverage protections.
Under current ACA law, 26 preventive health services are covered without deductibles or copays by most health plans, including mammograms, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and prenatal care. According to the campaign's recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 81 percent of the public want all health plans to continue covering women's' preventive care.
Over 40 attended the summit encouraging women to become advocates in their communities when health coverage protections under the ACA are at threat.
"The ACA shifted the business model for insurance companies towards a management of risks instead of avoiding risks," said Dr. Michael Miller, Senior Health Policy Advisor, HealthyWomen. "Preventative services push people towards getting the healthcare needed and saves money in the long run with better outcomes which leads to healthy workers, healthy families, healthy communities and economic growth through prosperity."
Jenny Wikoff, a BRCA2 (BReast CAncer gene 2) fighter, and working mom underscored the importance of preventative care. In 2010 she tested positive for the same mutations that led Angelina Jolie to undergo a double mastectomy.
"1 in 800 women will test positive for BRAC1 or BRCA2, which is linked to other cancers as well, such as pancreatic, skin and a number of other cancers. The 26 preventative services are very important. If young healthy women like me don't get tested for BRCA, they are just waiting to die and don't get to choose to live like I am getting to," Wikoff stressed. "No woman should have to compromise her medical choices because she can't access care, that's just terrifying."
Christy M. Gamble, Director of Health Policy and Legislative Affairs for the Black Women's Health Imperative, noted that under the ACA uninsured rates have dropped by 42 percent for black women and in most states, more than 80 percent of women of color had access to insurance for the first time.
"Many black women are forced to decide if my child has food, a roof, or am I going to deal with this pain," Gamble explained. "It's important that we not forget about the millions of black women, Hispanic women, and even low-income women that still do not have access to care."
The Black Women's Health Imperative is the only national organization dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the nation's 21 million black women and girls.
Liz Joglar, Associate VP of the Community Healthcare Network, which provides healthcare to more than 85,000 New Yorkers in all boroughs, pointed out that 67 percent of patients are women. In the last year and a half, 16,000 women chose her network as the first point of entry seeking services for reproductive health and prenatal services.
Join HealthyWomen in raising awareness of the women's preventive health services that are now available under most insurance plans by going to KeeptheCare.org.