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Congresswoman McCollum's Remarks Before the House Budget Committee on Women's Health Care

March 21, 2012
Statements For the Record

[as prepared]

Thank you Mr. Chairman. 

Women deserve access to affordable, quality health care.  Unfortunately before the Affordable Care Act, women didn't have this access.

A Colorado woman was denied coverage because she had a caesarian section when delivering her second son.  A woman in Florida was denied coverage because as a survivor of a sexual assault she was given anti-AIDS medication.  A senior in Minnesota could not afford her prescription drugs while in the Medicare donut hole.  A woman in South Dakota could be charged $1,200 more than a man for coverage.  A woman in Texas had her insurance rescinded as she was fighting breast cancer.  And a mother of three children with cystic fibrosis in Utah was stuck in a low-paying job because she couldn't risk losing her employer's coverage.

I could continue for the rest of my time with stories like these.

Stories of women mistreated by our health system for reasons beyond their control.  Stories of women denied coverage because of so-called pre-existing conditions.  But the Affordable Care Act is already working to end this unfair discrimination.

Over the past two years, we have seen how this law is improving access to health care for women and their families.  A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can no longer max out a woman's lifetime limit.  Copayments are no longer a barrier for women to access recommended preventative services such as mammograms.  Mothers no longer have to choose between taking their child for a check-up and putting food on the table because a well child visit is covered.  By August of this year, even more preventative services will be provided without cost sharing.

Preventative services such as an annual well woman visit to guard against ovarian cancer and domestic violence counseling.  Two years from now, insurers will be prohibited from charging women more for a policy because of her gender.  The health insurance exchanges will allow women to find affordable coverage that includes maternity care.

For these reasons and many more, I encourage you to pass my amendment.

It reaffirms our commitment that this budget will ensure all women can finally have access to quality, affordable, comprehensive care.  Access not only for themselves, but for their families as well.

Women are often the decision makers and caregivers when it comes to their families' health care.  They schedule appointments for their children with the pediatrician.  They pick up prescriptions for their spouse.  And they accompany their aging parents to meet with specialists.

Strengthening women's access to care impacts the health care of all families.  America's women cannot afford to return a broken health care system.  Our families cannot afford it.

My amendment supports the funding included in the Affordable Care Act and other critical services -- funding that preserves women's access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance that they deserve.

Thank you.