Ladies, it’s time to get angry. Men, you can join too. In fact, for this one, we need all the help we can get.
Last week, HHS announced that abortion (except in the case of rape, incest or life endangerment of the mother) would not be covered in the temporary insurance pool established for those with pre-existing conditions. (One thing to note: this option goes away once it becomes illegal to deny people health insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions and they can enroll in the exchange in 2014).
Some may think, “Isn’t that the compromise that was reached with Stupak, Nelson and friends?” Nope!The health care reform law only applies to programs in the health exchange. Even the Executive Order only speaks to the health exchange and community health centers. This Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) is neither.And many interpret the law to say, if it’s not mentioned, it doesn’t count.To clarify the legal why-it-doesn’t-count, I turn to Jessica Arons from the Center for American Progress,
“A common method of legal interpretation posits that when items in a legal document are specifically listed, they exclude any items that are not mentioned unless there is a catch-all statement that says unenumerated items are not excluded. Case in point: the Ninth Amendment says of the Bill of Rights, “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” That means the Constitution can be interpreted to contain rights that are not explicitly designated.The Executive Order, on the other hand, contains no such statement indicating that it might cover more than the addressed items, namely the exchanges and the CHCs. In fact, when the Executive Order was signed, it was widely seen as simply reiterating what was already in the PPACA and current law.”
Basically, this PCIP does not qualify for the restrictions spelled out by Sen. Nelson and the Executive Order. The Obama administration is going above and beyond restricting abortion access to women because in addition to not covering abortion, private and state money can’t be used to cover abortions (some states cover abortion with their own state funding for Medicaid) within the PCIP. UGH.
On top of that, the PCIP is hella expensive not just for young people, but for everyone. While I understand health insurance is expensive in general, the monthly premiums listed for the states do not start below $300 for those under the age of 34.So if I’m a 24 year old uninsured woman from Texas whose parents don’t have health insurance and I’m diabetic and want birth control, I have to pay $323 per month plus a $2500 deductible BEFORE my discounted prescription even kicks in (for birth control and other needs related to my diabetes). Otherwise, I’m left to search for another insurance plan that probably won’t cover me. Oh, and of course, if I get pregnant because I can’t afford the deductible nor the birth control without the discount, I’ll have to pay for an abortion out of pocket. Thanks.
*Medicaid expansion for single folks doesn’t kick in until 2014, which the person in this scenario could possible qualify for…as long as she made less than $15,000/year. Texas minimum wages at 40 hrs/week and 52 weeks/year totals $15,080 before taxes.
And finally, because this can’t possibly be it, HHS is still trying to decide whether or not contraception counts as a preventative service which means it would be available at no cost. I’m not reflecting back to conversations that keep happening about “preventing the need” for abortion…Apparently people need more time to think about whether or not birth control counts as preventative care. *sigh*
Let’s face it. Birth control is expensive, especially if you are looking for a longer-lasting form like an IUD.And not all health insurance plans even cover birth control (Remember the birth control fights a few years ago…time to start that up again!). It would have been AWESOME for HHS to step up and include birth control as a basic preventative service before this became an issue.Instead it’s off to a non-partisan group to decide whether birth control is included as a preventative service. We should find out in the next 6-18 months. Great.
I keep trying to get excited about HC reform, but my whole “being a woman’ is making it tough.