Health Care Issues
AAUW believes everyone deserves access to quality, affordable, and accessible health care.
For more information: AAUW Fact Sheets and Position Papers on Affirmative Action, Athletics, Education, Managed Care Reform, Reproductive Rights, and Social Security Reform.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: Paid Family Leave Insurance in Watertown, NY. (Video from Jan. 24, 2014)
Updated Aug. 12, 2014
- Number of FMLA Lawsuits Spiked From 2012 to 2013 - Employees in 2013 filed 877 lawsuits against their employers for allegedly violating the Family and Medical Leave Act, up from 291 in 2012, according to data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
- NPWF: In celebration of the Family and Medical Leave Act's 21ys borthday today, we've released the 7th edition of our Q&A guide!
- Medicare finances improve partly due to ACA, hospital expenses, trustee report says - Trustees for Medicare and Social Security released their annual report. They predicted that Social Security will be able to afford checks for retirees and workers' survivors until 2034, although they dwelt on vulnerabilities in Social Security Disability Insurance program. In the last year, 41 million retired Americans received benefits from Social Security.
- STUDY: OBAMACARE GAVE 10 MILLION AMERICANS HEALTH INSURANCE - About 10.3 million Americans gained health coverage this year, primarily as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to a study by the federal government and Harvard University, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
- Obamacare Has Helped Americans Save Nearly $2 Billion on Their Insurance Premiums - Millions of Americans can expect to get a refund from their insurance companies this year, at an average of about $80 dollars per family, thanks to a little-known Obamacare provision that's helping people save money on their premiums.
- One in six adolescents in the ER has experienced dating violence - Of adolescents visiting the emergency department for any reason, one in five girls and one in eight boys reported dating violence in the past year. According to a study, dating violence among adolescents was also strongly associated with alcohol, illicit drug use and depression.
- Consumers Will Spend More on Health Care in 2015, Report Predicts - The report, from PricewaterhouseCoopers's Health Research Institute, forecasts medical cost growth of 6.8 percent over all in 2015, compared with the institute's estimate of 6.5 percent for this year.
- Once again, U.S. has most expensive, least effective health care system in survey - A report released Monday by a respected think tank ranks the United States dead last in the quality of its health-care system when compared with 10 other western, industrialized nations, the same spot it occupied in four previous studies by the same organization. Not only did the U.S. fail to move up between 2004 and 2014 - as other nations did with concerted effort and significant reforms - it also has maintained this dubious distinction while spending far more per capita ($8,508) on health care than Norway ($5,669), which has the second most expensive system.
- Treating Food as an Investment - We need to rethink our calculus on food spending. We've gotten where we are today in the United States because the negative impacts associated with poor diet choices don't show up immediately; there's a lag time between those initial years eating chips, sodas and hamburgers and the negative consequences that eventually send us to the hospital for our first biopsy or to the pharmacist for insulin. Rather than looking at food as an expenditure with no long term implications, we instead need to view our food spending as an investment.
- Disparate State Laws Result in Rape Survivors Paying for Treatment, Study Finds - Some rape survivors are still required to pay for medical services related to their assaults, including care related to sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy, according to a new study from the Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice, Kaiser Health News reports.
- Hospital Charges Surge for Common Ailments, Data Shows - Charges for some of the most common inpatient procedures surged at hospitals across the country in 2012 from a year earlier, some at more than four times the national rate of inflation, according to data released by Medicare officials.
- Health Department proposes first-ever youth sexual health plan - New York's first-ever Youth Sexual Health Plan was unveiled last week to combat the growing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies among young people. "Reproductive and sexual health are key issues for adolescents and young adults," acting state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. "Providing accurate and comprehensive information to protect adolescents' health and prepare them for responsible decision making is a public health priority."
- Goals of the New York State Sexual Health Plan
- Preventive Services Coverage Uneven Despite ACA Requirements - The Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) requires health plans to cover many preventive care services at no out-of-pocket cost to beneficiaries, but confusion among insurers and providers has left some consumers with unwarranted charges, Politico Pro reports.
- Labs Are Told to Start Including a Neglected Variable: Females - From sleeping pills to statins, women have been blindsided by side effects and dosage miscalculations that were not discovered until after the product hit the market. Now the National Institutes of Health says that this routine gender bias in basic research must end.
- New Benefits for Breastfeeding Moms: Facts and Tools to Understand Your Coverage under the Health Care Law - As part of women's preventive services under the ACA, new plans are required to cover breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling. This is a significant step forward in making breastfeeding more accessible and affordable for millions of Americans.
- Pick to Replace Sebelius Draws Senators' Praise at Confirmation Hearing - Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Obama's nominee to replace Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of health and human services, charmed senators at a surprisingly cordial confirmation hearing on Thursday. Ms. Burwell, 48, has been Mr. Obama's budget director for the last year.
- Most Who Signed Up for Health Care Have Paid Up - About 80 percent of people who chose plans under the Affordable Care Act are paying initial premiums as required.
- The Uninsurance Rate Is Dropping Among People Who Need Health Care the Most - The uninsurance rate continues to drop to record lows, according to polling from Gallup - and it's declining the fastest among the communities who have historically lacked adequate access to health care. The data suggests that Obamacare is effectively expanding coverage to the people who need it the most.
- New Health System Scorecard: States Made Little Progress in Years Prior to ACA - Our new Scorecard on State Health System Performance is out, and the results are disappointing: in the five years preceding implementation of the Affordable Care Act's major coverage provisions, the majority of states declined or failed to improve on two-thirds of the measures that could be tracked over time.
- In the News:North Country Ranks Low In County Health Study - The north country ranks better when you consider what they call Health Outcomes, which includes statistics like length of life as well as physical and mental health days taken. Lewis County ranks 21st, Jefferson 31st, and St Lawrence is 55th. But, when you look at Health Factors, which are largely behaviors, Lewis County is 46th, Jefferson is 52nd, and St Lawrence ranks 56th.
- In the News: Looking at Costs and Risks, Many Skip Health Insurance - Americans who have chosen to be uninsured cited cost, frustration and ideology as some of the reasons they sat out the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act. A common thread running through stories of the unenrolled is cost. Many people either do not qualify for federal subsidies or believe that the assistance is not enough to make insurance affordable, interviews with consumers and experts suggested. According to enrollment counselors in several states, people who have gone without health insurance or major illness for years can be especially resistant to investing in coverage.
- In the News: Cost of Treatment May Influence Doctors - Traditionally, guidelines have heavily influenced the practice of medicine, and the latest ones are expected to make doctors more conscious of the economic consequences of their decisions - even though there is no obligation to follow them. Medical society guidelines are also used by insurance companies to help determine reimbursement policies.
- In the News: Enrollments Exceed Obama's Target for Health Care Act - Eight million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, including what the White House said were a sufficient number of young, healthy adults needed to maintain the plan's viability.
- In the News: Hard Choices on Health Exchange Spell Success in N.Y. - More than 900,000 residents signed up for health plans, and premiums have dropped, though the state limited consumers' choices.
- In the News: Sebelius Resigns After Troubles With Health Law Website - Ending a five-year tenure marred by the disastrous rollout of President Obama's signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, Kathleen Sebelius is resigning as secretary of health and human services. He will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her, officials said.
- In the News: US Prisons House Ten Times More Mentally Ill Than State Hospitals - There are 10 times more mentally ill Americans in prisons and jails than in state psychiatric hospitals, a report found - adding that those individuals' conditions often deteriorate while they are incarcerated.
- In the News: New York's Paid Sick Leave Law Quietly Takes Effect - The law went into effect on April 1. And despite the naysayers and the critics, the skies didn't fall. Instead, without hoopla or hullabaloo, the city quietly became the largest in the nation to ensure that a vast majority of workers wouldn't lose their jobs or a portion of their paychecks if they or their close relatives got sick.
- In the News: Medicaid sign-ups rise by 3M under Obamacare - Three million lower-income Americans have enrolled in the Medicaid program for the poor so far during the rollout of President Obama's health-care law, the administration announced on Friday.
- In the News: Why Americans Have the Worst Dental Insurance Ever - Why does American dental insurance cover so little for such expensive procedures?
- In the News: Cuomo administration pushes for out-of-network billing protection - The state's Superintendent of Financial Services, Benjamin Lawsky, stood with health care consumer advocates in Albany Monday urging lawmakers to pass legislation Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined in the Executive Budget that would protect patients from surprise out-of-network medical bills.
- In the News: Making Vaccination Mandatory for All Children - Room for Debate asks whether outbreaks of measles are a sign that exemption from immunization should no longer be allowed.
- In the News: New Insurance Rights for Same-Sex Couples - The Obama administration announced that health insurers who provide coverage for heterosexual couples must also provide coverage to married same-sex couples. This announcement followed complaints that insurers were excluding married same-sex couples from benefits.
- In the News: Paid-family-leave bills gain momentum in Albany - On the heels of sweeping paid-sick-leave legislation becoming law in New York City, there's new momentum for another government-mandated benefit for employees: legislation giving weeks of paid time off to workers with a newborn child or seriously ill relative.
- In the News: Expanded paid sick leave is now law - NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill into law: a mandate to require all businesses in New York with five or more employees to provide paid time off to its workers. The bill signing completes a four-year effort by progressive groups and elected officials to push a paid-sick-leave mandate past a skeptical business community and a recalcitrant city government led by Michael Bloomberg and Christine Quinn.
- In the News: Sixteen for '16 - Number 4: Medicare for All - That every American should have inexpensive access to all necessary health care is not a matter for debate. As with our education system, our long-standing traditions of local control and community care should remain bedrock principles of our health care system.
- In the News: The Secret Benefits Of Paid Sick Days For All - Seven cities and one state have passed paid sick leave laws, ensuring workers can earn time off. This new right has a profound impact on the lives of those workers. But that impact also has ripple effects. It transforms relationships between employers and employees – and between workers and the rest of society.
- In the News: Poll: Majority Supports Contraceptive Coverage - About 53% of U.S. residents think that businesses owned by individuals who oppose birth control should not be exempt from a federal requirement to offer contraceptive coverage to their workers, according to a new poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC News.
- In the News: 4.2 MILLION HAVE SIGNED UP FOR OBAMACARE - More than 4.2 million have signed up for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges through February, leaving the administration with one more month to hit its enrollment targets.
- In the News: AAUW: Child care legislation passage praised (March 7, 2014)
- In the News: FDA, cosmetics industry remain at odds over outdated regulations - Concerned about generations-old regulations that have left it with little power to ensure the safety of thousands of consumer products from shampoo to shaving cream, the Food and Drug Administration launched talks with the cosmetics industry more than a year ago. The goal was to reach a deal on a regulatory regime that has not changed since 1938.
- In the News: New York Women’s Equality Coalition Applauds Assembly’s Passage of Child Care and Family Leave Legislation - Yesterday, the NYS Assembly passed legislation to improve child care access and establish paid sick leave. All of these vital measures for women will make critical upgrades to our laws and put our state back on the map as a leader for women's equality-where New York belongs.
- In the News: Consumers Allowed to Keep Health Plans for Two More Years - The action helps Democrats in tight midterm election races, because it avoids the cancellation of insurance policies at the height of the political campaign season.
- In the News: NYC Council OKs Bill Expanding Required Paid Sick Leave - It will give the right to have paid sick days to 355,000 workers.
- In the News: New CDC data shows 43 percent drop in obesity rates among children 2 to 5 - New federal data published Tuesday show a 43 percent drop in obesity rates among children ages 2 to 5 during the past decade, providing another encouraging sign in the fight against one of the country’s leading public health problems, officials said.
- In the News: Gillibrand visits Owego to tout proposed paid family leave
- In the News: Equally Insured? What You Need to Know About Women and Health Insurance Coverage - One in five of the women in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 64 are uninsured, making concerns about where women can access health care a serious and urgent issue. Women are at higher risk of being uninsured or underinsured because they are more likely to be covered as dependents through working spouse’s employer-sponsored plans, are less likely to meet Medicaid qualifications, and may have more health concerns that result in pre-existing conditions.
- In the News: Eating Disorders Often Begin At Home: On The Eve Of The Eating Disorders Week - The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that nearly 80% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being overweight.
- In the News: NYC Paid Sick Days Bill Tweaked To Give Grace Period To Small Businesses - The City Council has changed the expanded paid sick days bill to make a small concession to small businesses - giving businesses with 5 to 19 workers a six month grace period to comply with the law.
- In the News: Gillibrand touts paid Family Medical Leave Act - Plan would provide up to 12 weeks of paid medical leave for care of a family member.
- In the News: Gillibrand pushes to expand Medical Leave Act - Gillibrand says under the new Family Act, workers could receive up to 66 percent of their wages for 12 weeks. She says a small tax on wages similar to those on Medicare and Social Security could pay for the program.
- In the News: U.S. Sen. Gillibrand Introduces Paid Family Leave Act - "This FAMILY Act will really provide my staff and employees everywhere with the ability to be great at both of these jobs: their day jobs as breadwinners and their care-giving roles at home,” said Jamie Basiliere, Executive Director of the Childcare Coordinating Council of the North Country.
- In the News: White House Delays Health Insurance Mandate for Medium-Sized Employers Until 2016 - Under new rules announced Monday by Treasury Department officials, employers with 50 to 99 workers will be given until 2016 - two years longer than originally envisioned under the Affordable Care Act - before they risk a federal penalty for not complying.
- In the News: They quit their jobs, thanks to health-care law - Count Polly Lower among those who quit their jobs because of the health-care law. It happened in September, when her boss abruptly changed her job description. She went from doing payroll, which she liked, to working on her boss’s schedule, which she loathed. At another time, she might have had to grit her teeth and accept the new position because she needed the health benefits.
- In the News: New Report: All But 5 States Taking Action to Implement ACA Insurance Reforms - The 10 states that have done the most to implement the health reform law's major components-California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Vermont-have set up their own insurance marketplaces, expanded eligibility for Medicaid coverage, and enacted all, or nearly all, of the insurance market reforms to ensure that consumers benefit from the law.
- In the News: Medical bills are a burden for more than 1 in 4 families, CDC says - A crushing medical bill can cause money problems not just for a cash-strapped patient but for his or her entire family. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show more than one in four U.S.
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