A great reason to talk about women’s health this week
I’ve spent my whole adult life talking about women’s health. In fact, I started volunteering at a women’s clinic before I old enough to buy a drink, so I’ve been talking about women’s health since before I was adult. I can tell you anything you wanted to know – and more – about birth control, pregnancy, breast cancer, and any number of women’s health topics.
But one thing that I was never very excited about talking about was Women’s Health Week. I was already the director of the National Women’s Health Network when the feds created National Women’s Health Week, and I thought it was a ho hum sort of thing. A nice shout out to women, sure, but the women’s health week didn’t actually do anything concrete for women. No free services, no new information, just another federal proclamation that such-and-so gets a day/week/month of recognition.
But this year, I’m really excited about National Women’s Health Week and am talking about it every chance I get. Why? Because this year, the federal government is actually doing something concrete to help women stay healthy.
Here’s the surprise – it’s the Affordable Care Act. That’s right, the new health law has some good things for women. Many people I talk to tell me that they tuned out the Affordable Care Act a couple of years ago, back when opponents started disrupting Town Hall meetings and claiming that health reform would “pull the plug on Grandma”. It’s true, that was a big messy political fight, but now that the law is in effect, we’re starting to see some really great new things for women and our families.
Here’s just one example. Part of this year’s women’s health week is something called National Women’s Check-up Day. Did you know that the new health law is going make sure that women’s well-woman exams are covered with no co-payment, just like our kids get well-baby exams with no copayment? And that mammograms and pap smears are now covered with no extra charges for Medicare-aged women; and the rest of us will get the same coverage starting August 1st? That makes scheduling the check-up seem a little bit easier, doesn’t it?
In fact, there are so many good services for women included in the new health law that we’ve created a website to help women find out what they’re going to get and when. Check it out at www.countdowntocoverage.org.
So I’m back to my non-stop talking about women’s health – and this year, I’m glad that I’ve finally got something exciting to say about National Womens’ Health Week.