Repeal of Health Law Could Mean Women Pay More For Less | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Repeal of Health Law Could Mean Women Pay More For Less

According to the Kaiser Foundation, the ACA made significant improvements for women

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Consumer Reporter Lynda Baquero helps a Long Island man after he changed his healthcare provider but the bills then came to him! (Published Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017)

    From a return to higher premiums based on gender, to gaps in coverage for birth control and breast pumps, experts say women could end up paying more for less if the Obama-era health care law is repealed.

    The 2010 law ended a common industry practice of charging women more than men for policies purchased directly from an insurer. It made maternity and newborn care a required benefit for individual health plans. And it set a list of preventive services to be provided at no extra cost to women, including birth control and breast pumps used by nursing mothers. That preventive care requirement also applies to most employer plans.

    Nearly half of pregnancies are unplanned, and prior to "Obamacare" some women would get pregnant only to learn that their insurance did not cover maternity and delivery, said Dr. John Meigs, a longtime family practitioner in the small town of Centerville, Alabama.

    "A lot of women were delaying their prenatal care until they could figure out what to do," said Meigs, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Pregnancy "is one of those things that ought to be covered, because it happens."

    Democrats are keying in on the issue as they try to block or blunt the GOP drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act. "We don't want our country going backward when it comes to women's health," said Sen. Patty Murray, ranking Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

    Women are widely seen as having benefited from the health law. In a recent AP-NORC poll, 44 percent said they thought women were better off as a result of the law, while only 24 percent said women were worse off.

    Flight Attendant's Behavior Questioned Following Altercation

    [NATL-BAY] Flight Attendant's Behavior Questioned Following Altercation

    One day after an American Airlines flight attendant became entangled in an altercation with passengers, his employer is investigating whether or not he was out of line. Thom Jensen reports.

    (Published 3 hours ago)

    "The ACA set minimum levels of benefits that health plans have to cover and many are highly used, or exclusively used by women," said Usha Ranji, a health policy expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "Repeal and replace could take away that minimum level of benefits, which includes really commonly used services like contraception and maternity care."

    Nashville-based singer Rachel Potter worries about what it could mean for her. She says she was lucky to be covered under the ACA when she unexpectedly became pregnant last year.

    Bleeding early on and other complications sent her to the doctor's office frequently.

    "We were able to monitor the pregnancy really closely," said Potter. "I was able to go to an amazing OB-GYN and I wouldn't have had access to that care if I had not been on this insurance." Her son Jude was born in December and is already on the road with her.

    Drive-Thru Pot Dispensary Opens in Colorado

    [NATL] Drive-Thru Pot Dispensary Opens in Colorado

    When you think of a drive-thru, fast food probably comes to mind. But what about marijuana? Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru in Parachute, Colorado, is the first of its kind. After nearly a year of preparation, the drive-thru pot shop opened for business on 4/20. 

    "Their timing couldn't have been better in my opinion, I mean everybody wants to celebrate," said Kyle Steele, a customer at the drive-thru.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)

    Potter's medical bill came to more than $40,000, but she only paid about $2,000 of that.

    She's now thinking about getting a long-lasting form of birth control while her insurer is still required to cover it at no charge to her. "I don't know the future of the health insurance situation," said Potter.

    Five doctor groups representing about 500,000 clinicians on Thursday called for maintaining the ACA's women's benefits, along with other protections. The groups include family physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and the American Osteopathic Association.

    A Trump administration spokesman says speculation about components of an "Obamacare" replacement is premature.

    Protester, Official React to Arkansas Execution

    [NATL] Protester, Official React to Arkansas Execution

    Just before midnight Thursday, Arkansas announced it had executed death row inmate Ledell Lee. He is the first of four inmates scheduled to die before the end of the month when a crucial lethal injection drug is set to expire. A protester and a spokesperson for the governor reacted to the controversial execution.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)

    Recently introduced legislation that seeks a middle path on health care would keep some of the Obama-era requirements, but make others a state option.

    The bill co-authored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, would allow states to keep the ACA or substitute an alternative with fewer federal requirements.

    Under that approach, insurance plans in states that pick the alternative would not be required to cover maternity and newborn care. However, plans in all states would have to cover the ACA's preventive benefits, including birth control. Collins staff said the draft bill is a starting point.

    Some "Obamacare" critics argue that required benefits for women have driven up costs for others, for example young men who don't need maternity care. Other experts say the impact on premiums is modest compared to provisions of the law such as guaranteed coverage for people with medical problems and tighter limits on how much older adults can be charged.

    Bill O'Reilly Ousted At Fox News Channel

    [NATL] Bill O'Reilly Ousted At Fox News Channel

    Fox News host Bill O'Reilly was officially pushed out at the network. This comes after O'Reilly had paid out more than $13 million to five different women over allegations of sexual harassment. In a statement, 21st Century Fox said, "After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel." O'Reilly has denied any wrongdoing.

    (Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017)

    "Relative to other market changes, there is no indication that required coverage for women's health benefits was a primary driver of premium increases," said Caroline Pearson of the consulting firm Avalere Health.

    Ranji, of the Kaiser Foundation, says the ACA made significant improvements for women. Before the law:

    • Pregnancy, a prior cesarean-section, a history of domestic violence, or problems with depression could be deemed a pre-existing condition, triggering restrictions on coverage or higher premiums.

    • About one-third of plans on the individual insurance market charged women between the age of 25 and 40 premiums at least 30 percent higher than men of the same age.

    • Only about 12 percent of plans available directly to individuals included maternity care.

    • About 20 percent of women of childbearing age covered by large employers spent some of their own money on birth control pills. Currently it's fewer than 4 percent.

    Columbia Student Opens Restaurant in Dorm Room

    [NY-NATL] Columbia Student Opens Restaurant in Dorm Room

    Pith, a small bistro created by Columbia senior Jonah Reider and run out of his dorm room's communal kitchen, is the hottest restaurant in town after opening just two weeks ago. John Chandler reports.

    (Published Thursday, April 20, 2017)