Lawmakers Annouce Committee Passage of Bill to Protect Access to Health Care for Women
State Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson) was joined by a bipartisan coalition of female lawmakers, activists and other supporters at a press conference today to highlight a bill aimed at protecting health benefits for women, children and adolescents.
The bill comes at a time when national legislators have moved to slash healthcare coverage for millions of Americans, including 109,000 Connecticut residents enrolled under the ACA.
Senate Bill 586, “An Act Expanding Mandated Health Benefits for Women, Children and Adolescents,” was passed today by the Insurance and Real Estate Committee and will next be debated on the floor of the Senate.
“This legislation will ensure that regardless of what happens in Washington, women’s healthcare will continue to be protected in our state,” said Sen. Flexer. “This has been an important conversation, and I am so pleased that this bill had strong, bipartisan support.”
Sen. Flexer thanked the leadership of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, which reported the bill out of committee on a Joint Favorable report.
“Thanks to this legislation, Connecticut women can rest assured that regardless of what President Trump and the Republicans in Congress do when it comes to repealing the Affordable Care Act, state law will from here on out protect the access to basic women’s health care services like contraception and breast pumps afforded to them at no cost under the Affordable Care Act,” said State Representative Sean Scanlon, a Democrat who represents Branford and Guilford and serves as House chairman of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee.
“Connecticut is a leader in promoting reproductive rights and women’s health care, and this legislation continues that tradition,” Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfield) said. “Access to preventive services saves lives—it’s critical that women continue to receive the medical care they need.”
“These bills are vital in supporting women, children and families in Connecticut. Women’s access to affordable healthcare is a human right and should not be based on economic ability,” Rep. Robyn Porter (D-New Haven) said. “Regardless of what happens at the federal level, these bills will preserve women’s access to affordable healthcare and allow them to live a healthy lifestyle.”
“We have a moral obligation to provide all women and children access to affordable healthcare,” Rep. Christine Conley (D- Groton) said. “I am extremely pleased to co-sponsor these bills and will continue to push for the protection of women’s healthcare rights.”
“Women’s health is a bipartisan issue that impacts not only women, but also families in Connecticut,” said Rep. Noreen Kokoruda (R-Madison). “We all need to work together to address this important issue.”
Senate Bill 586 seeks to ensure that women will be protected under any circumstances with or without protections from the federal government. The bill expands mandated health benefits for women, children and adolescents; expands mandated contraception benefits; and requires the Commissioner of Social Services to amend the Medicaid state plan to provide expanded contraception benefits.
Thanks to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, nearly 800,000 Connecticut women have not been charged a copay or deductible for contraceptive coverage resulting in an average yearly savings of hundreds of dollars. SB 586 will ensure that regardless of what happens now to the Affordable Care Act in Washington, the protections essential health benefits it affords to all women will remain law in Connecticut.
This bill makes sure that health insurance coverage plans cover 21essential benefits that women need in order to receive comprehensive healthcare in our state, including:
- Well-woman visits for any woman who is younger than 65 years old;
- Breast cancer screenings
- Screenings for sexually transmitted diseases
- Breastfeeding support and counseling for any pregnant or breastfeeding woman;
- Breastfeeding supplies, including a breast pump;
- Gestational diabetes screening for any woman who is 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, and any woman who is at increased risk for gestational diabetes; and
- Osteoporosis screening for any woman who is 60 old or older.