Credit: Tabitha Kaylee Hawk/southerntabitha on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--In the face of a government shutdown designed by a faction of House Republicans to sink the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, female politicians and women's groups have come out in force to signal support for President Barack Obama's signature domestic program.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, expressed discontent with the Republicans' desire to prohibit reproductive health care coverage for women in a press conference hours before the shutdown. "I have a daughter and I have granddaughters and I will never vote to let a group of backward-looking ideologues cut women's access to birth control," Warren said. "We have lived in that world and we are not going back. Not ever."
On Oct. 1, the glitch-plagued first day for government software, the Feminist Majority, an organization that aims to empower women via action and research, reassured its Twitter followers that enrollment was open even if most government-run webinars, memorials and museums had been halted by the shutdown.
— Feminist Majority (@FemMajority) October 1, 2013
On Oct. 2, the National Women's Law Center, an organization that uses research and analysis to advocate for women's advancement, tweeted the strong show of interest by Americans in participating in the new health care law, citing 4.7 million visitors to healthcare.gov and 190,000 enrollees.
The advocacy group also created a multimedia tool, Word of Mom, for mothers to communicate to their children the benefits of the health care law with resources tailored to social media platforms.
Three Vital Dates
Moms Rising, a grassroots organization focused on livable wages and family-friendly policies, sent a basic Twitter message: "To help #moms and families, #GetCovered."
Moms Rising also provided a link to the official online application portal, which leads to a webpage with a large "APPLY NOW" button and an image of a smiling woman, front and center. Three dates run along the header: Oct. 1, the first enrollment day; Jan. 1, when coverage goes into effect; March 31, the last day for open enrollment.
An April report from the Office of Women's Health, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, estimates that in the next two years 13 million women will gain insurance coverage. The same report predicts that 47 million women will be eligible for preventive health care services without co-pays.
Many pro-enrollment tweets used the hashtag #getcovered and contained a profile picture, designed by Get Covered America, a nonprofit and nonpartisan group that aims to educate Americans on the new affordable health care options. The image is available in many different colors, including the gay community's favored rainbow.
Young Invincibles, an organization that provides information to young people about health care, jobs and economic opportunity, tweeted, "Hey ladies! Check out this new site info about women's health and how to #GetCovered."
New York Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, a Democrat, joined those offering information and encouragement about enrollment. "Being a woman is no longer a preexisting condition," she said in one tweet.
Under the Affordable Care Act, known as ACA, insurers are prohibited from charging women higher rates for such gender-specific services as contraception and screenings for domestic violence and sexually transmitted diseases.
Planned Parenthood Targeted
Planned Parenthood is a major target of those opposing the mandate in health reform to provide contraceptive coverage free of copayments. The reproductive health care provider offered followers a tool for looking up plans that include their services.
— Planned Parenthood (@PPFAQ) October 1, 2013
The ACA enables 8 million women who would otherwise be indefinitely uninsured to access maternal and reproductive coverage, the Huffington Post reported Oct. 1. The act also prohibits denial to female employees of coverage for cervical cancer, sexually transmitted disease testing and pregnancy induced diabetes.
A social media trend poll conducted Oct. 1 by the Kaiser Family Foundation and NBC found a high degree of uncertainty and confusion among Americans on the first day of enrollment, which included high volumes of online traffic and software malfunctions.
A large number of respondents think Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are two distinct policies, NBC reported Oct 1. Of the people surveyed, 30 percent said they did not know what the Affordable Care Act entailed. But when asked about the ACA by its nickname, Obamacare, only 12 percent said they did not know.
There was a ratio of two positive tweets in reference to the ACA for every less-than-favorable tweet with regard to Obamacare, Bloomberg reported Oct. 2.
Reshmi Kaur Oberoi is an editorial intern with Women's eNews and is a New York–based freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter @ReshmiKO.
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