Good news for women from Capitol Hill. A new mandatory preventive coverage law which takes effect today, August 1, 2012, will include free-of-charge services such as well visits, FDA-approved birth control, and breast-feeding counseling and supplies. Legislators are hoping that by requiring insurance carriers to offer these services, women who could not otherwise afford them will be more inclined to seek medical care for their every day needs.
Democratic Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who made the announcement yesterday, claims that more than half of the women in this country either delayed or avoided preventative care because they simply couldn't afford it. And, it is estimated that approximately 47 million citizens will now benefit from the saved out-of-pocket costs.
The new law will be met with some challenges, however. For one, many business owners refuse to offer contraceptive coverage to employees due to their religious beliefs, and it could potentially be seen as a violation of the owners' constitutional rights to force them into providing such coverage. A few religious-based court cases have already come to light, and, in some instances, companies are being allowed to slide for the time being.
Proponents anticipate additional opposition and are confident that most cases be will be seen as invalid. In fact, advocates believe many will view the law as a great benefit to society. After all, with fewer unwanted births, healthier babies and earlier detection of life-threatening conditions, what's not to love?