Mamas on Bedrest: Affordable care is very affordable-when you’re not paying for it!

January 24th, 2011

The Republican Majority in the House of Representatives voted last week to repeal The Affordable Care Act (aka The “ObamaCare” Law).

While the repeal in the house in and of itself isn’t likely to stand, the House of Representatives and Republicans in the Senate have vowed to dismantle the law item by item or to withhold funding so that it essentially dies.  If this action occurs, I am very worried that mamas on bed rest and others won’t have access to safe, effective, affordable health care.

One of the Republicans’ biggest complaints is the insurance mandate issue. They feel that it is be a burden on tax payers and states for people to HAVE to purchase insurance or be fined. What they neglect to mention (in addition to a suitable alternative to this item) is the fact that when people are uninsured and need to see a doctor, even for something as mundane as a cold, they go to emergency rooms where the fees to just walk through the door are about $500. As people are uninsured and often unable to pay, their health care (including prescriptions) is provided gratis (actually those of us who have health care end up footing the bill in the form of higher premiums with less coverage but I digress…). This is a situation that could have been avoided if we had gone to a single payer system, but many Americans are so afraid of “socialized medicine”, worrying that they wouldn’t be able to get what they want when they want,  that they would rather suffer premium hikes and our current barriers to care than to make sure that everyone has basic health care.

But those are all issues for another post. Here, I want to remind folks what Mamas on Bedrest and those mamas beyond pregnancy stand to lose if The Affordable Care Act is repealed or “inactivated”. Many of these benefits have been covered in the blog post “Improvements in Insurance Funding for Mamas on Bedrest”. But here are the highlights:

  • Coverage of preventive screenings and services for pregnant women at no extra charge. Yes, many women were charged additional fees to their insurance premiums for certain prenatal screening tests and treatments like folic acid supplements and smoking cessation programs, both known to improve the health of mother and baby.
  • The new law will require that employers offer paid time off/breaks so that mothers can go express breastmilk and the law requires that a designated place be made available-other than the bathroom. It’s about time!
  • Funds will be allotted for research on post partum depression. Again, it’s about time!
  • A pregnancy assistance fund, which will provide $25 million annually for 10 years for housing, child care and other needs. (Here is emergency funding for mamas on bed rest!!!)
  • $1.5 billion over five years will be dedicated to expanding home-visiting programs in which nurses and other providers visit pregnant teenagers and young mothers. While I can appreciate helping young mothers, I think that the program should be expanded to include ALL new mothers of ALL ages. As any mom knows, having a new baby is overwhelming. If there isn’t sufficient support the stress can contribute to post partum depression. (See April 30th Blog post, Austinwoman Magazine Article on Post Partum Depression)

In addition to these benefits, Mamas on Bedrest who develop chronic conditions will not lose their health care. That means,

  • Mamas who develop peripartum cardiomyopathies (enlarged hearts and heart failure) as a result of their pregnancies will continue to receive health care. To bring this point home, Brenda Torigiani, one of our featured mamas who is now living with peripartum cardiomyopathy, won’t lose health care coverage nor be denied health care coverage if her husband changes jobs because she now has a “pre-existing condition.”
  • Mamas who develop hypertension and gestational diabetes that becomes chronic hypertension or Type I or II diabetes mellitus post partum won’t lose health care coverage or be denied health care coverage due to pre-existing conditions. That means my friend who had an intracranial bleed (bleeding in her brain post partum due to high blood pressure) can’t be denied health care coverage.

The Affordable Care Act also removes the caps (limits) that can be placed on health care. This is great news for parents and families who have premature infants who will require lifelong medical care and medical resources.

While I could go on about the myriad of benefits that the Affordable Care Act will provide to Mamas, their babies and their families, none of it really matters if the bill is repealed or dismantled. Mamas on Bedrest, if you see your self in any of the above scenarios, I implore you to contact your federal legislators and tell them that you don’t want them to repeal or to dismantle or not fund The Affordable Care Act. Or perhaps you are in favor of our current system. If  that is the case then by all means do nothing because then we can all be sure that we will continue with more of the same.

I want to leave you all with one final thought. The legislators, the people who are working feverishly to repeal The Affordable Care Act or at the very least to inactivate it, all have comprehensive health insurance. Yes, as federal “employees”, they are entitled to some of the best health care that this country has to offer! And since they “work for us,” guess what, We’re paying for it! The very people who are trying to deny you health care coverage have health care coverage funded by your tax dollars!! Furthermore, many of them who “retire” from public service will continue to have this same comprehensive health care for the rest of their lives. They won’t have to worry about Medicare going bankrupt or supplemental insurances.  Again to make the point real, we have paid for every one of Dick Cheney’s cardiac stents and his most recently implanted heart pump. If he needs a heart transplant, we’ll pay for that too! When John Boehner starts needing treatment for emphysema (He’s an avid smoker and so is President Obama), we will pay for his oxygen, his inhalers and any other treatments that he may need. We’ve paid for Arlen Spector’s Prostate cancer treatments as well as for his lymphoma treatments. We paid for Ted Kennedy’s brain tumor treatments, Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s Treatments, Supreme Court Judge Ruth Ginsberg’s Colon cancer treatments….I could go on but you get my point. As federal employees, all of these individuals received some of the best medical care the United States has to offer all while several of them don’t even want to pay for you to get a flu shot.

I guess affordable care is very affordable-when you’re not paying for it.  No wonder they see no need for The Affordable Care Act.

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