Enacted by President Obama in 2010, The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was created in an effort to increase national healthcare coverage, quality and affordability. Notably, Obamacare also increased women’s accessibility to health care. According to Gretchen Borchelt at the National Women’s Law Center, 19 million women were uninsured in the United States before Obamacare. After its enactment, “nine in ten of every women had insurance.”
Under Obamacare, many discriminatory policies were eliminated that put women at a disadvantage within the healthcare system. Previously, for instance, pregnancy, caesarean-sections, being a domestic violence survivor or even a rape survivor were legitimate reasons for insurance companies to deny women health coverage. Obamacare also banned the use of Gender Rating, a discriminatory practice used by 92% of insurance companies that made women pay higher deductibles than men for their insurance.
Obamacare covers a variety of preventative services to women, including mammograms, flu shots, cancer screenings, domestic violence screenings and birth control. It also requires that health plans cover maternity care and breastfeeding supplies. However, the longevity of Obamacare is at risk. President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly claims that he is going to repeal and replace Obamacare, labeling it a “catastrophe” for its high premiums and economic burden on individual Americans.
Despite certain shortcomings, Obamacare undoubtedly increased much-needed health coverage for women. As Borchelt stated, “Whether you’re a Trump supporter or a Clinton supporter, I think that you’ll find there’s much in this law that you support. You may not realize that you’re getting your preventive service without cautionary because of Obamacare. You may not realize that the reason you’re able to access that maternity care is because of Obamacare.”