It has been two years now since the Affordable Care Act was passed, and today it was celebrated by Congresswomen eager to remind the public of the great changes it has made on the behalf of women’s health.
“Today, a large number of women politicians spoke on the historic law,” Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters via conference call.
Noting that Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan unveiled his new budget, which would dismantle Medicare, Leader Pelosi emphasized the even greater need for keeping the ACA intact. “Republicans are brazen,” she stated. “They are out to destroy Medicare, and here they go again.”
Pelosi was joined by Democratic Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Gwen Moore (D-WI), all of whom attested to the benefits their constituents have received thanks to the Affordable Care Act, including the millions of children and young adults able to remain on their parents’ insurance and the over 30 million seniors who have received preventive care through Medicare.
Their biggest focus, however, was on the 20 million women who have received necessary, affordable preventive services and low-cost coverage thanks to reform, much of it, such as cancer screenings, literally lifesaving.
“I can tell you for a fact that preventive health care saved my life,” Rep. DeLauro said, recalling her own battle with ovarian cancer 26 years earlier. “Many women aren’t so lucky.” Cancer screenings now, she explained, “aren’t just covered, they are affordable.”
Rep. DeGette was as enthusiastic in her praise of the new mandates. “Women no longer need a referral for an Ob-GYN,” said Rep. DeGette. “Being a woman is no longer treated as a preexisting condition.”
But Republicans seem intent on undoing these gains, they said, especially during the 2012 legislative session. “We’ve already taken eight votes in this congress alone on anti-women legislation, from increasing taxes on employers covering abortion to denying life-saving health care in hospitals.”
Rep. DeGette called the proposals “some of the worst attacks I’ve ever seen on women in my lifetime.” She remarked that although the House GOP has already made two attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they have provided no blueprint for what they want to replace it with.
Of course, it’s not just the Republican party that serves as a threat to the advances made in the reform act. With the Supreme Court about to begin reviewing state challenges to the law, what has been gained could just as quickly be lost. “We feel pretty solid constitutionally, we feel pretty iron-clad,” Leader Pelosi said when asked about the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning the law.
“But,” she admitted, “you never know what the court may do.”