(WASHINGTON) — While Democrats on Capitol Hill were celebrating a new Obamacare contraception provision, Republicans were calling again to repeal the landmark health reform law.
The new rule goes into effect Wednesday that will require employers to cover contraception without a co-pay, among other things, all affecting women.
HHS Secretary appeared with Senate Democratic women on Capitol Hill and declared Aug. 1 a, “new day for women’s health in America.”
“No woman should have to choose between seeing her doctor and putting food on the table for her family,” Sebelius said. “And now many women won’t have to make that difficult choice any longer.”
Previously some insurance companies did not cover some preventive services for women at all under their health plans, while some women had to pay deductibles or co-pays for the care they needed. But now all insurance policies will be required to cover new preventive care without charging women anything out of pocket.
The eight new prevention-related services are: “well-woman” visits, gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases, domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling, FDA-approved contraceptive methods and contraceptive education and counseling, breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling, HPV DNA testing for women 30 or older, Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women and HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women.
“The top killers of women will now no longer go undetected,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said at the press conference Tuesday, “the kind of support services that we need to be healthy, good mothers and to be able to have our family life — we’ll be able to do it.”
The Obama administration estimates that 47 million women will now be able to get preventative services that they could not before this rule went into effect.
As Democrats came to Senate floor Tuesday morning to give speech after speech touting the benefits of this new rule, Senate Republicans called for a repeal vote of the entire health care law.
“I think it would be appropriate to have a vote on the repeal of Obamacare,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Tuesday morning. He suggested that offering an amendment during the the pendency of a cybersecurity bill would be better.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., shot down the idea quickly noting that the health care repeal vote should not be included in an unrelated bill that is focused on cybersecurity.
“I think we should understand that I don’t think a woman getting contraception has a thing to do with shutting down the power grids in America or the financial services in America or our water systems or our sewer systems,” Reid said.
Reid hit a personal note, touting the new health care rule that goes into effect Wednesday, in speaking about his wife who last year was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.
“A person that is able to have a mammogram — it is lifesaving,” Reid said. “She had a mammogram in December, and in August discovered a lump in her breast, and think what would have happened if she had waited a year because she couldn’t afford that mammogram. Frankly, the thought of it is very hard for me to comprehend because even though she had that mammogram in December, she found she was in stage 3 of breast cancer and it has been very difficult. But what if she had waited an extra year? Many people wait a lot longer than an extra year.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News