To the editor:
The Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act marks a critical victory for women's health, and the health of all Americans. Because of this landmark decision, millions of women and families will continue to have access to affordable, quality health care.
At Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York, we understand how this law will have an unprecedented effect on women's health. The law guarantees women direct access to OB/GYN providers without referrals, and ends discriminatory practices against women, such as charging women higher premiums and denying coverage for "pre-existing conditions." And soon, women will gain access to birth control without a co-pay.
Since August 2010, more than 45 million women have already received full coverage for preventative health screenings. Now with this ruling, 17 million more women will have access to health insurance for the first time. Millions more young adults will be able to stay on their parents' health insurance plans.
In New York alone, 637,834 women of reproductive age will gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act by 2014.
The increased access to preventative health care and family planning under the Affordable Care Act provides immeasurable economic value to women, families and society. Birth control isn't a political or social issue - it's basic health care and an economic concern. The money - up to $600 on average - that women will save on birth control each year is equal to five weeks of groceries for a family of four, nine tanks of gas in a minivan or one semester of college textbooks.
Planned Parenthood health centers in the North Country provide basic health care to more than 12,000 patients every year. Because this landmark law has been upheld, we'll be able to do even more for the communities we serve in the months and years ahead.
Vice president of external affairs
Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York