Planned Parenthood Joins More than 200 Organizations and 41 State Attorneys General in Opposing the "Lose Your Benefits Bill"
WASHINGTON, DC — Today the U.S. Senate will begin to consider the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (S.1955-HIMMAA), introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), a law that would exempt insurance companies from virtually all state laws protecting health insurance benefits. With many Americans already struggling to access health care, HIMMAA will worsen the situation by eliminating health care benefit protections for families across the United States.
"This law should more honestly be called the 'Lose Your Benefits Bill.' If it passes, more than 80 million Americans could be forced to pay out-of-pocket for basic health care needs, including cancer screenings, mammograms, maternity care, and contraception," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Rather than improving the health care system, this bill does the exact opposite: it takes away health care benefits that millions of people depend on."
Women's health care would be among the hardest hit by this law. HIMMAA would nullify hundreds of state laws that ensure patients get the medical care they need. The law would potentially
- not allow women to designate their ob/gyns as primary care providers
- not allow women to seek care directly from their ob/gyns, but would force them to be screened by their primary care doctors first
- dismantle coverage for contraception
- dismantle coverage for annual cervical and ovarian cancer exams
- not allow women to stay with the same doctor throughout a pregnancy, if that doctor was dropped from the insurance provider plan
For years, many insurance plans covered prescription drugs, but refused to cover birth control pills and other prescription contraceptives for women. In the past decade, lawmakers in 23 states have remedied this inequity and enacted contraceptive coverage laws. Under HIMMAA, women would lose contraceptive equity protections currently guaranteed by state law.
HIMMAA is bad medicine for all Americans. More than 250 national organizations, health plans, and state officials have opposed its passage. This includes 41 state attorneys general, 19 state insurance commissioners, many governors, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Diabetes Association, United Cerebral Palsy, the American Cancer Society, the American Nurses Association, the American Mental Health Association, and the American Association of People with Disabilities.
See the full list of organizations and officials opposing S. 1955.
"States enacted protective laws to ensure that their citizens receive the quality health care and fair treatment they deserve," said Richards. "We can't allow the insurance industry to determine our health care needs and to steamroll over state protections. Congress needs to stand up for Americans' health and safety."
See a state by state list of benefits that could be lost.
May 11, 2014