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The current state of women’s health in the United States? Uncertain

I had no idea that before the Affordable Care Act was enacted into law some insurance companies considered pregnancy a pre-existing condition, effectively denying women coverage for their hospital deliveries. According to the national Women’s Law Center, just 12 percent of individual market plans included maternity benefits in 2013.

I also didn’t know that many women were charged more than their same-age male counterparts for health insurance before the passage of the act.

It wasn’t until members of the Trump administration announced they would seek to repeal and replace the act that I learned about these past practices of discrimination against women.

In a recent story on the state of women's health, I spoke to several Stanford Health Policy and Stanford Law School researchers, including Meena Chelvakumar, MD, a VA Health Services Research and Development Fellow at Stanford Health Policy, about how women could be impacted by changes in federal health care law. Family planning is one area where we could see changes, and Chelvakumar, who specializes in women's health and family planning, reflected on its importance:

Family planning and basic reproductive freedom -- especially the right to a safe abortion -- are absolutely fundamental to women being able to have the same level of self-determination as men.

...

Several studies have shown us that when women have control over their reproductive life plan, they are much better equipped to pursue educational and economic opportunities to their full potential and become productive, highly contributing members of society... Access to family planning is a rising tide that lifts all of us - not just women.

The piece also includes comments by Michelle Mello, JD, PhD; Khiara Bridges, JD, PhD; Eran Bendavid, MD; and Grant Miller, PhD.

Previously: New ban on U.S. aid to family planning groups could have unintended consequences and Doctor at Women's March: "I marched to make sure my patients' voices would be heard"
Photo by Getty Images

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