States that embraced Obamacare — which presumably were more committed to public health in the first place — had lower uninsurance rates to start with and saw bigger declines. The states that resisted were the ones with the biggest uninsurance problems to start with and saw only token declines [in the number of people without health insurance]. In fact, the decline in states that embraced Obamacare was more than triple that in the other states, 2.8 percent vs. 0.8 percent. In Red States, the Uninsured Are Up the Creek (via smdxn)

(via cognitivedissonance)

The leaders of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation have invited themselves into their employees’ bedrooms and medicine cabinets under the guise of religious freedom, and these bosses are seriously out of line.

Lisa Maatz, Use of Contraception is Not Your Boss’ Business

Call for participation! We will be co-hosting a Tweetchat with the Center for Reproductive Rights at 2PM E.T. TODAY to discuss what’s at stake as the contraceptive mandate heads to #SCOTUS. Join in by tweeting at us using the hashtag #Reprochat and #NotMyBossBusiness.

What unites [anti-LGBTQ laws and anti-contraception laws] is an attempt to subtly enthrone a specific interpretation of religious freedom that facilitates institutional control of women’s bodies and those of LGBTQ people. Katherine Cross

Can you imagine walking into a pharmacy to buy ibuprofen and, finding that it was kept behind the pharmacy counter, you ask the pharmacist if you can buy some and are told no.

The pharmacist doesn’t believe in selling ibuprofen, and unfortunately the sales associate on shift doesn’t either. It’s against their religion. You’re out of luck.

It sounds funny, but if you go to a CVS pharmacy for emergency contraception, or to refill a monthly birth control prescription, their corporate policy allows employees to refuse to serve you in the store, even if there isn’t anyone else on duty who’s willing to do so. Is there another store to go to? If you’re in an urban center, have time on your hands, are very mobile and have access to transportation, sure. If you’re in a rural area or have difficulties getting around, you may be out of luck at one of the largest pharmacy chains in the country.

Stand with RH Reality Check and more than 5,000 other signers to tell CVS: Please guarantee in-store access to all forms of contraception.

To the Virginia Republicans who want to block Medicaid expansion, we’re just like…

President Obama: Women Stood for You. Stand With Us and Remove Abortion Restrictions From Your Budget

Written by Ashley Hartman for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

This election, I was proud to work with many young people to engage our communities and campuses in the issues that impact us. One issue that engaged many young women in the election work I did this year in Ohio was access to health care, especially pregnancy related services, such as pre- and post-natal care, maternity care, and abortion care. Sixty-five percent of 18-to-24 year-olds believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time, which is higher than any other age group. I am lucky to have employer-funded health insurance that allows me to access a full range of preventive services, including all pregnancy-related services.

Sadly, not all women — even women with insurance — have access to these services. Current law unfairly limits insurance coverage for abortion for women with government-funded insurance. This is because federal dollars are withheld from covering a woman’s abortion except in limited circumstance.

Read the rest here.

Why “Free Birth Control” is Not Free

Written by Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Yesterday, August 1, 2012, was a momentous day for women, marking the official beginning of a process of ensuring that millions of women across the United States will—finally—have access to a full range of preventive health care services without a co-pay.

These include a wide range of services and interventions identified by the Institutes of Medicine as essential to women’s health and well-being, including breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence; screening for gestational diabetes; DNA testing for high-risk strains of HPV; counseling regarding sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; screening for HIV; contraceptive methods and counseling; and well-woman visits. Likewise, the ACA also ensures that plans must cover an array of services, vaccinations, and interventions, including those specifically needed by women, infants, children, and adolescents at different points in their lifecycle.

Unquestionably, due to the efforts of religious and political fundamentalists at the state and federal level to deny women access to reproductive health care of virtually every kind, the benefit that has gotten the most media attention is the one involving contraception without a co-pay. Many media outlets (see ABC, NBC, Grist, and some columnists, including our colleague Amanda Marcotte, have described the new birth control benefit as making contraception “free,” most frequently, for example, stating that now women will have access to birth control for free.

This is not the case, and it is misleading—and politically dangerous—to say so.

Read the rest here.

Is Rick Perry’s Rejection of the Affordable Care Act Political Posturing or a Portent of What’s to Come?

Written by Andrea Grimes for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

On Monday, Texas Governor Rick Perry publicly rejected two major tenets of the Affordable Care act, saying the state would not participate in the individual state exchanges nor in the federal Medicaid expansion. In a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released yesterday, Perry wrote that the “Orwellian-named PPACA” would “make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to health care.”

Texas, which has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country — about one in four Texans currently have no insurance — could receive over a hundred million dollars from the federal government over the next few years, enabling the state to dramatically expand Medicaid overage to low-income adults who are not currently eligible. But, instead, Perry wrote that he believes the Medicaid expansion would “exacerbate the failure of the current system, and would threaten even Texas with financial ruin.”

Texas is already in serious financial trouble, and Perry’s dedication to rejecting any help, or dipping into state reserves, has put it in ever more dire straits. 

Read the rest here.

A Pyrrhic Victory? In ACA Ruling, Roberts Court Takes Big Swipe At Social Safety Net

Written by Jessica Mason Pieklo for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

When the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act first started taking form, the assertion that Congress did not have the power to regulate the health insurance industry under either the Commerce Clause or the Necessary and Proper Clause was largely seen as an academic argument that had percolated in law schools thanks to a robust presence of the Federalist Society. After all, how could an industry that accounts for approximately 16 percent of economic activity in this country be said not to affect interstate commerce? Of course it can be regulated. Under the even the most cynical view opponents of the Affordable Care Act peddled these arguments simply as political cover for the Court to invalidate the law since the tension between the Obama administration and the conservative wing of the Roberts Court was nearly palpable.

The Court declined the political cover, a fact I think speaks loudly to the rumors that Chief Justice Roberts was concerned about the partisanship and rancor brewing within and around the Court, and the implications of this for his legacy. But the Chief Justice hardly “joined the liberal wing” of the Court in upholding the law. In fact, his decision gives conservatives a potentially significant tool to further attack the social safety net in its limitation of the Commerce Clause. People, for reasons of their own, often fail to do things that would be good for them or good for society. Those failures—joined with the similar failures of others—can readily have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. Under the Government’s logic, that authorizes Congress to use its commerce power to compel citizens to act as the Government would have them act.

Read the rest here.

Will Low-Income Women in Texas Find Care Without Planned Parenthood? An Analysis of the System Says the Answer is No


Written by Andrea Grimes for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

While the State of Texas battles in court for what it says is its right to exclude Planned Parenthood from participating in the Medicaid Women’s Health Program (WHP) there, the Texas Health and Human Services commission is sending mixed messages to the more than 50,000 women who currently rely on Planned Parenthood for their care through the WHP.

Instead of waiting for the courts to decide whether Planned Parenthood, considered by the state of Texas to be an “abortion affiliate,” can participate in WHP, the state’s HHSC last week sent out a mailer to 100,000 low-income women enrolled in the program advising them that Planned Parenthood could no longer provide WHP services — despite the fact that it has not yet been excluded. 

The mailer directed women to the new Texas Women’s Health Program website, which initially excluded Planned Parenthood from its provider listings, which have since been amended to include Planned Parenthood clinics. The site is meant to help WHP enrollees find doctors who will provide reproductive and contraceptive care, and at first glance appears to shore up Governor Rick Perry’s claims that the WHP would do just fine without Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that it provides services to half of the WHP’s members.

Governor Perry’s office and anti-choice lawmakers in the state have rallied behind the claim that “There are more than 2,500 qualified providers in the WHP that operate more than 4,600 locations across the state,” downplaying the significant role Planned Parenthood plays in bringing WHP access to low-income women. What Perry’s office doesn’t mention is that most of those providers are small clinics and individual doctors that aren’t currently equipped to take on the tens of thousands of women who will have to leave Planned Parenthood should the courts rule in favor of the State of Texas.

RH Reality Check set out to test the WHP’s non-Planned Parenthood provider listings over the past week and found that while initial searches of turn up what appear to be hundreds of available providers, many of them don’t provide any kind of contraceptive care, don’t take Medicaid Women’s Health Program clients, or are simply misleading duplicate listings.

Read the rest here.