Two-thirds of Americans support HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ decision to require insurance companies to cover preventive services for women, including contraception, without charging co-pays, according to a recent Kaiser Health Tracking Poll.
The breakdown of the poll by demographic shows unsurprising results, support among women was slightly higher (68 percent) than men (63 percent), and significantly higher among young people ages 18-29 (79 percent), though more than half (51 percent) of the older group still approved. This poll shows, yet again, the importance of these regulations and the benefits more generally of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for women.
However, the same poll also showed that support for and knowledge of the benefits of the ACA amongst the uninsured is still too low. Nationally, 32 million uninsured people will gain coverage because of the law. And in Wisconsin, an analysis recently released by the Department of Health Services (DHS) shows that the number of uninsured Wisconsinites will decrease by 340,000 by 2016, through implementation of the ACA. Though this particular finding in the report is not being shared widely by WI DHS (see Shawn Doherty’s article in the Cap Times on that subject here), we need to make sure that the benefits of the ACA are known. Kaiser’s poll showed that only half of uninsured Americans are aware of key provisions in the ACA designed specifically to help them. It is up to us as advocates for all women, especially those who have difficulty interacting with the health system like the uninsured, to speak up during implementation of this law – so that all the benefits are realized and recognized by the who need them the most.