What Health Care Reform Means for Women

by Katie Oldaker

On Tuesday, President Obama signed the health care bill (passed by the House of Representatives late Sunday night) into law. There have been a slew of comments about the bill left and right, and hopefully we here at the BUST blog can clarify some of the more woman-specific issues in the bill.

Namely, abortion. There’s been a lot of misinformation floating around, but here’s what I could decipher from the executive order President Obama issued in order to sway some pro-life Democrats into signing the bill. Essentially, it clarifies that no federal insurance credits could be used to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger. So, as far as I can tell, this means if you receive federal credits for your insurance starting in 2014 in any way, shape, or form, you’ll have to pay for abortion services out of pocket entirely.

On top of this, there is language in the bill that requires those with private insurers who do offer abortion coverage to write two separate checks—one for all their medical coverage that doesn’t include abortions, and one for the abortion coverage itself. There’s been some speculation that this newfound paperwork nightmare could lead to private insurers dropping abortion coverage altogether.

On the positive side, companies can no longer deny applicants based on pre-existing conditions (in the past, some insurers included having been a victim of rape or domestic violence a “pre-existing condition.”) The bill also provides grants for programs designed to help women with post-partum depression.


For a more in-depth analysis of the bill’s effect on women, RH Reality Check has one here.

To read the text of President Obama’s executive order, click here.


Image of President Obama signing the health care bill via whitehouse.gov

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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