OWL Analyzes Health Reform for Mother's Day

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Some Medicare co-payments will disappear, but vision, dental and hearing bills are still out-of-pocket. That's part of today's analysis of the Affordable Care Act by the Older Women's League, offered as a gift to caregivers in time for Mother's Day.

(WOMENSENEWS)--Health reform offers a step forward for 74 million women over the age of 40, but it's not the solution.

That's the basic finding of a report about the Affordable Care Act released today by the Older Women's League, a longtime advocate for a single-payer or universal health care system, such as those found in Canada and Great Britain.

The group, known as OWL, is releasing the report in time for Mother's Day.

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In her introductory message OWL's president Margaret Hellie Huyck notes that mothering often means giving unpaid care to family members and suffering an erosion of financial security in the process.

"The social system needs to support them and make sure their own health does not suffer by providing universal, affordable and high-quality health care," she said in the report.

One of the big gains promised by health reform--most of which starts taking effect in 2014--will be complete coverage of preventive health services, without the 20 percent co-payments required by Medicare. OWL reported that currently half of Medicare beneficiaries do not take advantage of preventive procedures.

Such services include screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, sexually transmitted infection and osteoporosis. If 90 percent of women 40 and older received breast cancer screening, 3,700 lives could be saved annually, according to OWL.

Insurers, under health reform, are also forbidden to deny care to participants with pre-existing conditions or deny coverage based on gender. The law also incorporates the Elder Justice Act, which provides older Americans protection from abuse, neglect, abandonment and financial exploitation.

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