WASHINGTON – Joined by a Holland, Ohio cancer survivor and activist, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that new preventive health care benefits will be available at no cost for more than 1.8 million Ohio women beginning August 1st. The provisions were included in the health reform law, the Affordable Care Act.
“Making prevention affordable is an important step to improving health outcomes and reducing costs. As a result of the health care law, starting tomorrow, more than 1.8 million Ohio women will have access to vital preventive services that will help them stay healthy and well,” Brown said. “Now women will have access to preventive care without financial barriers — so that we can diagnose diseases and illnesses early when we have the best chance at being able to save lives.”
Brown was joined at a news conference this morning by Anne Walker Creech—a three-time cancer survivor and volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ASCAN) to outline the new benefits. Creech, a mother of 4 and grandmother of 12, was first diagnosed with breast cancer 29 years ago and underwent several surgeries, including a double mastectomy. Eleven years ago, Anne was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and was treated with extensive surgery and chemotherapy. In 2010, she was diagnosed with a reoccurrence of breast cancer and is now in remission after undergoing surgery. Last fall, Creech, who resides in Holland, Ohio, was invited to the White House as a “Champion for Change.” The “Champions of Change” program highlights Americans who are making an impact in their communities.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the services that will be provided to women free of charge beginning tomorrow include well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, HPV DNA testing, domestic violence screening and counseling, HIV screening and counseling for sexually transmitted infections, breastfeeding supplies, contraceptive methods, and family planning counseling. Increased access to these services will help improve health and well-being among women. HHS is providing for an exemption for certain religious employers, and a transition is provided for certain additional non-profit organizations with religious objections to contraception coverage.
While serving as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Brown participated in a hearing entitled “What Women Want: Equal Benefits for Equal Premiums,” which examined cost and coverage disparities between men and women. Brown cosponsored the Women’s Health Amendment—included in the health reform law—that requires all health plans to cover comprehensive women’s preventive care and screenings at no additional cost to women, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The recommendations were accepted in whole by HHS.