The Really Good Health News You May Not Have Heard

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Daquella manera

It’s not hard to imagine things being just a little better—a little easier, a little more reasonable and fair—for women and kids.

Yes, yes, we’ve come a long way, baby. I know we’re supposed to dwell on that, and I do lots of days, I promise. But how hard would it be to just fix a few things that are still hanging around out there, not working for families? You know, the big, leftover, unfair business practices, the officially sanctioned discrimination, the times when really vital things break the family bank. We can get rid of some of that, can’t we?

Let’s call it “the Nest List” – some things I’d like to see get done for families before my child is out of the nest.  What’s on your list? Here are just a few suggestions (you might detect a theme).

  1. If a kid has asthma or eczema or a heart problem, there should be a rule so that child can get health care—not be denied it just because some health insurance company discriminates against kids with preexisting conditions.
  2. While we’re at it, the same should go for adults. Patients who have been pregnant or had a C-section or been raped or had a cancer removed or anything else that insurers call a “preexisting condition” should be protected by their coverage. (Otherwise, it’s not really insurance, is it?)
  3. Charging women more than men for something everyone needs, like health care, should be against the law.
  4. Prevention should come at no cost to consumers. That should be the rule for prenatal care, well child visits, well woman visits, mammograms, and the medical screenings and vaccines we’re all supposed to have. We need more prevention and less cure to save families’ money and savelives, too.
  5. While we’re at it: birth control, lactation consultant services, even those big machines you have to rent from the hospital when there’s trouble getting your newborn to breastfeed—that should all be free, too. Offering those things at no cost respects the life decisions women make and promotes options for families.
  6. We should make all this happen without upending small businesses, since those are the types of businesses most families own. But if big companies out there are making money off of leaving sick or hurt people in the lurch, there should be ways to curb excess profits like that.
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  8. We should make members of Congress involved with any of this change create a fix that doesn’t add to the debt. Plus, they should have to live with the same coverage as the rest of us. That way, we’ll know whatever they come up with, it had to be good enough for their families, too.

So here’s the part that might rock your world: every item on the list above comes true within about the next two years. Already, #1, #4, and #6 are happening; #5 goes into effect next August; and the rest kick in during January 2014. It happens under a new law you may never have heard called by its actual name: the Affordable Care Act.

Big news, right? (And, you there in the back with your hand up, wanting to tell me you knew all this already: well, only 1 in 5 voters are in your boat. The rest of us may need some help to stay so informed from a good source like the email and Facebook updates from KidsWell Texas.)

Chances are, you’re the main person responsible for health care choices at your home, just like the stats say we women are most responsible for the child care decisions and food choices for the family. It’s hard to imagine, though, that no-cost preschool or 100% discounts on fruits and vegetables would fly under your radar if those became law. So how did this health news not reach you?

People with a lot of money and power have worked overtime to rebrand the Affordable Care Act. They’ve come up with a lot of lies to tell people about it, and some folks are convinced, passionately, I know.

The Affordable Care Act’s not perfect, but most of us, when we find out what’s in the law, discover an awful lot to like. I, for one, don’t think we’re better off imagining nothing can ever get better—not when the health insurance status quo stinks for so many.

Written by: Christine Sinatra

About Christine Sinatra 53 Articles
Christine Sinatra is the communications director for Texans Care for Children and mom to a kindergartener. Her past experience includes working as a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman and the Oakland Tribune company, being a Peace Corps volunteer for high school girls in Africa, and studying at UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.

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