Top Five on Friday: January 17

By Katie Stanton
Social Media & Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA

This week, the news cycle has been incredibly female-focused. From politics to health, from birthdays to marriage. Read on for the latest stories about women this week, and if we missed anything important, let us know in the comments!

1. A look at trends in life expectancy and economic status showed that women in the U.S. are dying sooner than those in other countries, and the reason may be linked to their education and access to healthcare.

Why American Women Aren’t Living as Long as They Should, by Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

YWCA Greater Lafayette Provides Essential Support and Care for Women with Cancer

By Heidi Kauffman, Women’s Cancer Program Coordinator
YWCA Greater Lafayette

Heidi Kauffman

Heidi Kauffman

The YWCA Greater Lafayette Women’s Cancer Program pays for uninsured women and women with high deductibles to get breast and cervical cancer screenings. Our region covers 23 Indiana counties, and through the Indiana State Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IN-BCCP), we contract with over 100 medical providers and 17 hospitals to provide the screenings. This way, the woman can go to a provider near where she lives. In addition to the IN-BCCP, we receive grants from Susan G Komen Central Indiana Affiliate, Avon Breast Health Outreach Program, and the Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust. We also have amazing community support with fundraisers and donations.

The Affordable Care Act: A Pivotal Chapter for the Uninsured

By Desiree Hoffman
Director of Advocacy, YWCA USA

The spectacle to defund, replace, repeal or halt the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues in Congress.

Even though House leadership has now voted 42 times to repeal or otherwise undermine Obamacare, they are at it again. In a ping-pong style match, the House and Senate have come to an impasse over efforts to defund and delay the ACA, resulting in a government shutdown that went into effect at midnight last night. The last shutdown, which occurred during the Clinton administration more than 17 years ago, comprised a total of 28 days and cost the nation more than $1 billion, according to congressional researchers. This one, depending how long it lasts, could have huge costs, both economically and otherwise.

Then and Now: The impact of the ACA on women’s healthcare, three years later

By Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D.
CEO of the YWCA USA

Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D.

Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D.

March 23, 2013 marks the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and presents us with a great opportunity to look back at the YWCA’s involvement in its passage, what the law means now to millions of women and families throughout the U.S., and what is still needed to ensure equal access to affordable, accessible and high quality health care coverage.

The YWCA played a very active role in advocating for the passage of the ACA. When the ACA was first enacted in 2010, its fate was unknown for some time, with lively “repeal and replace” legislative actions in Congress. When concerns about its constitutionality reached the U.S. Supreme Court, the YWCA spoke out publicly about the need for this coverage to be upheld. YWCAs across the country reached out to mobilize our more than 70,000 employees and tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the U.S. We asked them to be message champions, and to help educate women about how the ACA would decrease significant health disparities and make healthcare more affordable and accessible.

Now, three years later, this law has helped to make real and necessary advances to improve the health and safety of all women, including those who could not afford insurance before ACA took effect and those who previously paid more for coverage solely because of their gender. Many of the advantages of this relatively new health care law are still being implemented, and they have the potential to directly impact the women and families that the YWCA serves.

Here is a brief look at some of the positive impacts, three years later:

Thanks, ACA! New No-Cost Preventative Care Means More Women Stay Healthy

by Desiree Hoffman
YWCA USA Advocacy and Policy Director

Desiree Hoffman

Desiree Hoffman

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 47 million women across the U.S. will now be able to receive the preventative care they need without a co-pay or deductible. For too long, women have often made the difficult choice of not attending to basic health care needs because they can’t afford it.

Now, women will be able to access the health care they need, and will in turn lower costs for everyone because preventative care saves money in the long run. For years, preventative services such as blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests have been covered without a co-pay, however, starting in August 2012, there are eight new covered services specifically geared towards improving health outcomes for women.  They include:

  • Well-woman visits;
  • Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases;
  • Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling;

Eyeglasses, Sally Jesse and the ACA

Desiree Hoffman

Desiree Hoffman

by Desiree Hoffman
YWCA USA Advocacy and Policy Director

I hate to admit it but I had big Sally Jesse Raphael glasses with thick coke bottle lenses in the ’80s.  I rocked crimped hair and loved my stirrup leggings even though my first pair had holes in them because they were hand me downs.

I am one of the faces of Medicaid.  My siblings, my mother and I needed Medicaid for our health and well-being, not unlike many other young families who rely on this critical safety net during tough times.  Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to learn and excel in school as I was able to obtain proper vision care and eyeglasses.

The Affordable Care Act Turns 2 – No Baby Step for Women

by Gloria Lau
Chief Executive Officer, YWCA USA

Gloria Lau

Gloria Lau

The second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is this Friday, March 23. Thanks to the ACA, more than 20 million American women will have access to better healthcare coverage. Because of the ACA, women will be able to count on:

  • Crucial preventive services like mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, prenatal and new baby care without co-pays.
  • Their own choice of provider within their plan’s network of doctors, including OB-GYNs and pediatricians.
  • Starting in August, women can obtain birth control with no co-pay.