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 April 23, 2014
- 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.
- AAUW in the News: Gillibrand pitches paid family and medical leave in Watertown - Donna Seymour, of the American Association of University Women, praised Gillibrand's ideas, speaking from personal experience. "The fear of losing your job or your income at least comes off the table when you're sitting up all night with a two-year-old who's been throwing up five times since midnight, as my daughter did a week ago, or if you're trying to figure out how to write a paycheck for an employee who can't come into work because of complications from surgery," she said. (Jan 24, 2014)
- AAUW in the News: Sen. Gillibrand: Dems have good chance to keep congressional seat; paid leave would bring equality to workplace - Sen. Gillibrand was joined in her announcement by Donna E. Seymour, public policy vice president of the American Association of University Women for New York state; JCC Student Government representative Alyssa F. McKenzie-Chery, and Susan Rice, who spoke of the negative effect costly family medical emergencies have had on her career. (Jan 24, 2014)
- AAUW in the News: YNN News: Family Federal and Medical Insurance Leave Act - Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing for a new bill that would allow people to get paid leave from their jobs to take care of sick family members. (Jan 23, 2014)
- In the News: Unhealthy America - A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examines the complex issues underlying profound differences in the health of Americans, and recommends that as a nation, we prioritize investment in America's youngest children, significantly shifting spending and major initiatives to ensure families and communities build a strong foundation in the early years.
- In the News: Why Changing the Definition of Full-Time Work Under the ACA Will Put More Workers at Risk and Increase Federal Spending - Starting next year, large employers must offer health insurance coverage to full-time employees or pay a penalty if their employees become eligible for the law’s insurance subsidies. Under the Affordable Care Act, large employers are defined as those with at least 50 full-time employees, and current regulations specify that full-time workers are those working 30 or more hours per week.
- In the News: Little-known aspect of Medicaid now causing people to avoid coverage - Add this to the scary but improbable things people are hearing could happen because of the new federal health-care law: After you die, the state could come after your house.
- In the News: Gender Rating in Long-Term Health Plans Prompts Formal Complaints - The National Women's Law Center has filed complaints against four of the country's largest insurers and various states, alleging that the companies' long-term health care plans discriminate against female beneficiaries. The complaints name four insurers -- Genworth Financial, John Hancock, Transamerica and Mutual of Omaha -- and states that have partnered with them to provide long-term care coverage through their Medicaid programs.
- In the News: Getting charged for ‘free’ preventive care - The new health-care law encourages people to get the preventive services they need by requiring that most health plans cover cancer screenings, contraceptives and vaccines, among other things, without charging patients anything out of pocket. Some patients, however, are running up against coverage exceptions and extra costs when they try to get those services.
- In the News: New York City to Expand Paid Sick Leave, De Blasio Says - The new version broadens the law passed last year to include employers with five or more workers, down from the current threshold of 20. Employees working 30 or more hours a week would be eligible to earn earn as many as five days a year, which they could use to care for themselves or dependents. Connecticut, Seattle and San Francisco have similar policies. HREF="http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2014/01/health-department-says-new-york-on-track-to-meet-obamacare-enrollment-goal">Health Department Says New York On Track To Meet Obamacare Enrollment Goal - Nearly 330,000 people have signed up for health care coverage through New York’s Obamacare insurance marketplace, according to the latest update from the state Health Department. Health officials said the newest figures show that New York is on track to meet its goal of enrolling 1.1 million people by the end of 2016.
- In the News: HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE: JANUARY ENROLLMENT REPORT - The Department of Health and Human Services released a report showing that 54 percent of those who have selected an insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act exchanges are women.
- In the News: One in four Obamacare enrollees are young adults. That’s below the target - Even more important than these top-line numbers is what's happening in each state. Insurance rates are set on a state-by-state basis, so even if thousands of young people are signing up in California, it doesn't effect the premiums in neighboring Nevada. The new Health and Human Services report does show some variation by state, although most exchanges tend to hover somewhere in the 20-percent range.
- In the News: Older Pool of Health Care Enrollees Stirs Fears on Costs - People signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s federal and state marketplaces tend to be older and potentially less healthy, officials said Monday, a demographic mix that could threaten the law’s economic underpinnings and cause premiums to rise in the future if the pattern persists.
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