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Weinberg Applauds New Women’s Health Rules Going Into Effect

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, listens to her colleagues speak on the Senate floor.

Says New Rules under Affordable Care Act Will Put Basic Preventive Health Care Within Reach of Many Women

TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, issued the following statement applauding the new women’s health rules taking effect today as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. The new rules will ensure that many preventive health care treatments, tests and medications – including well-woman visits, HIV screening and counseling and birth control – will be made available without co-pays or other added insurance costs:

“Today, we realize the promise of the Affordable Care Act in terms of opening up access to basic preventive health care for thousands, if not millions, of women nationwide. With new rules eliminating co-pays and prohibiting added insurance costs for basic preventive health care services and screening, today we move on from the restrictive policies of the past, and affirm that being a woman is not a pre-existing condition under health insurance guidelines.

“The new rules will ensure that women will have unrestricted access to HIV-screening and counseling, gestational diabetes screening, STD counseling, domestic violence screening and counseling, breastfeeding support, HPV-testing, annual well-woman preventive health visits – with more visits covered if they’re determined to be medically necessary – and contraception.

“This is a huge step forward in women’s health policy, but we have to remain vigilant against far-right extremism that would seek to curtail these advances in women’s health freedom.

“In our home state of New Jersey, we’ve seen what happens when conservative ideology – and not respect for women’s health choices – governs public policy. Governor Christie has denied funding for women’s health care in each of his three budgets, and has vetoed repeated attempts to restore funding for women’s health care centers.

“As a result of the Governor’s adherence to conservative dogma, women’s health centers have closed, and access points to basic preventive health care have shuttered their doors or reduced operating hours, all while trying to serve a larger client base. Insurance coverage for basic preventive care means little if women can’t find doctors to provide that care.

“Today’s worth celebrating, because it represents a step forward in providing access to basic women’s health care. But we have to continue to fight against the policies – and politicians – who would deny women their rights as part of some sort of ideological agenda or for personal political gain.”