The Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act – A Victory for Women

Editor’s Note: The following piece is a guest blog post from Planned Parenthood Arizona President and CEO Bryan Howard.

The Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act marks a critical victory for women’s health, and the health of all Americans: Millions of women and families will have improved access to affordable, quality health care; many previously had inadequate coverage or no coverage at all.

At Planned Parenthood Arizona, we expect how this law will have an unprecedented effect on women’s health. The law guarantees women direct access to ob/gyn providers without referrals, and ends discriminatory practices against women, such as charging women higher premiums and denying coverage for “pre-existing conditions.” And in just six weeks, insured women will gain access to birth control without a co-pay — which will be a tremendous benefit for already stretched family budgets.

Every dollar invested in federal family planning saves taxpayers nearly $4.

Since August 2010, more than 45 million women have already received full coverage for preventive health screenings, including mammograms and Pap tests. With this ruling, 17 million more women will have access to health insurance for the first time, beginning in 2014. And millions more young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans, just like the 3.1 million young adults who have done so since September 2010.

In Arizona alone, approximately 280,000 women of reproductive age will gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act by 2014.

The increased access to preventive health care and family planning under the Affordable Care Act provides immeasurable economic security to women, families, and society. Not only does every dollar invested in federal family planning save taxpayers and families nearly $4, but unintended pregnancies are already costing U.S. taxpayers $11 billion each year.

Women realize that health and wellness are keys to prosperity and independence. In times of economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever to stay healthy. For women, birth control isn’t a political or social issue — it’s basic health care and an economic concern. The up to $600 that women will save on birth control each year is equal to five weeks of groceries for a family of four, nine tanks of gas in a minivan, or one semester of college textbooks.

Planned Parenthood health centers already provide basic health care to nearly 3 million patients every year, and in Planned Parenthood Arizona’s 14 health centers statewide, we see more 64,000 individuals come through our doors. Because this landmark law has been upheld, we know we’ll be able to do even more for the communities we serve.