Friday, July 22, 2011

Now we're talking real health care reform ...

That big, complicated, sometimes disappointing, health care law that passed last year was supposed to ensure that insurance covered preventative care. Seems like a no-brainer: insurance companies should pay for the inexpensive measures that keep people well, not just the expensive procedures that follow on serious illness (that is, the stuff that makes hospitals and doctors rich).

The law created an independent expert panel called the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to tell the Department of Health and Human Services what ought to be considered preventative care. And lo and behold, they came up with recommendations that could really make us a healthier (and probably happier) people. Via Feministing, The Hill reports:

The IOM said "the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling" should be covered for "all women with reproductive capacity."

It also recommends coverage for annual HIV tests for sexually active women, annual counseling on other sexually transmitted diseases and — for women older than 30 — testing for the human papillomavirus.

Screenings for domestic violence also should be covered, the IOM said.

This isn't really a new recommendation. According to the International Business Times,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that back in 2001 that about half of the pregnancies in the U.S. were unintended. Such pregnancies are associated with an increased risk of morbidity. Also women with an unintended pregnancy may delay prenatal care, which can affect the infant's health, according to the CDC.

With the availability of free birth control, more women will be able to better space out the time between births.

It's going to take guts for the Department of Health and Human Services to implement this recommendation. All the suggestions are for medical measures that fall under the Republican rule about sex: if it has unfortunate consequences, people who do what comes naturally should "Just Die."

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