COMPTROLLER LEMBO IN TESTIMONY: STATE MUST PROTECT WOMEN'S AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH MEASURES AHEAD OF POSSIBLE ACA REPEAL
Contact: Tara Downes
Comptroller Kevin Lembo, in written testimony submitted to the state legislature's Insurance Committee today, urged state action to protect women’s and children's health measures ahead of a possible federal repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The proposed state health measures include coverage for women's preventive health care, including prescription contraception and breast pumps, and would protect women's ability to breastfeed or pump in places of employment.
Lembo said most of these key health care protections are already provided
under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, however
congressional Republicans have announced plans to "repeal and replace" the ACA.
"The imminent threat of ACA repeal - and the uncertainty of what any replacement will look like - has forced Connecticut and states across the country to act immediately to protect against a dangerous void of necessary health care provisions," Lembo said.
Lembo urged support for three bills pending before the state’s Insurance Committee: Senate Bill 586, An Act Requiring Health Insurance Coverage for Preventive Care Provided to Female Enrollees and Access to Prescription Contraceptive Methods; Senate Bill 585, An Act Requiring Health Insurance Coverage for Breast Pumps and Protections Afforded to Women Breastfeeding in Places of Employment; and Senate Bill 494, An Act Concerning Health Insurance Cost-Sharing Requirements for Prescription Contraception.
"The health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby are well recognized, so we must ensure that women have the equipment and space necessary to supply their children with breastmilk," Lembo said. "The health care protections included under these proposed state measures are not only necessary to protect women's and children’s health, but are directly connected to lifetime educational and professional opportunities for women, studies have found."
Lembo pointed to reports by the National Women’s Law Center that show birth control access afforded under ACA has meant that many women are no longer forced to choose between paying for birth control or other necessities, like groceries and utilities. These health measures help provide both short-term financial stability, but also helps to plan whether and when to have children.
Additionally, Lembo said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that women are far more likely to utilize such preventive services, including birth control and potentially life-saving mammograms when cost-sharing - such as deductibles, co-insurance or copayments – are eliminated.