The NWHN is making sure women’s voices are heard and women’s concerns are addressed in health reform efforts through our work in the Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need  (RWV) campaign. RWV created a woman’s vision for quality, affordable health care  that focuses in particular on how health care reform can advance the health needs of those who are low income, women of color, immigrant women, lesbians, young women and women with disabilities. The NWHN launched the RWV campaign in 2007 with our partners at the MergerWatch Project of Community Catalyst and the Avery Institute for Social Change and it is a collaborative project, bringing together national state and local health advocates who are committed to making the promise of health reform real for women.
March 2012 marks the second anniversary of the health reform law, and we’re celebrating the real and significant difference that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is making in the lives of millions of our families, neighbors and communities. As state and federal policymakers work to implement the law, RWV is implementing a Countdown to Coverage  educational effort to help women learn about what health reform means in their lives :
- Preventive care we need to stay healthy , without costly co-pays that can make health coverage too expensive to use;
- Protection against discriminatory health insurer practices, like charging women more than men for the same policy or refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions;
- Security in knowing that insurers can’t cancel our coverage when we get sick, refuse to cover our medical care if it’s too expensive or drastically increase our premiums.
Over the last two years, RWV has cheered the important gains the health reform law has offered women by expanding access to affordable health care, including guaranteed contraceptive coverage without copays, and by establishing unprecedented protections from insurance industry abuses, like denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions like breast cancer survivors and women who had been in abusive relationships. At the same time, we recognized that these advances came at a cost – new and continued restrictions on access to abortion coverage. And we have worked with women throughout the country to support them in engaging in efforts to shape implementation of the law
In addition to Countdown to Coverage, NWHN advocacy priorities for protecting the promise of health reform and improving women’s access to quality, affordable health care include:
- securing contraceptive coverage, at no additional cost, for all women  – without restrictions that allow some employers  to deny this advance to the women who work for them
- establishing woman-friendly rules for the state health insurance exchanges  where millions of people will begin buying their health insurance starting in 2014
- pressing for an essential health benefits package , the minimum set of benefits that states will require insurance plans offered through the exchanges to cover, that includes a strong national standard, comprehensive definitions of maternity care and preventive care, and protection against sex discrimination.
To stay informed about the RWV campaign and opportunities to support these priorities, sign up  to receive the campaign’s weekly e-newsletter.