Obamacare to Benefit Memphian Women

Posted on January 23, 2014


By Megan Ververis


While the Affordable Care Act has been controversial in its launch and has caused further bipartisan tension, it is becoming hard to deny that Obamacare will benefit women’s health. On January 2nd, President Obama’s administration announced that coverage will fully cover free breast cancer prevention drugs for high-risk females.

About 1 in 8 American women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes and it is the second most common cancer in females, following skin cancer. A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree family member (mother, sister, daughter) who has breast cancer, and about 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it. Previously, American women have been dropped from their health insurance companies upon a breast cancer diagnosis, and females have been denied insurance altogether just for having a family history of breast cancer.

This decision comes after the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommended that women at high-risk for breast cancer be offered preventative medications, such as Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, which have been found to decrease the relative risk of breast cancer. Of course, these drugs come with side effects, so at-risk females will need to work with their physicians to see if these drugs could be right for them.

The American Cancer Society praised this new policy advocating preventative medicine. Spokesman Steve Weiss said, “This policy means millions of women at high risk for breast cancer will know they can access proven risk-reducing medications at no cost to them…. by making prevention more accessible and affordable, the health care law is helping more people stay healthy and avoid the high costs of treatment after diagnosis.”

Breast cancer is an illness of astonishing racial disparity: A study in 2012 found that Memphis is the American city with the largest racial disparity of breast cancer mortality, given that one African American woman dies each week in Memphis, which is twice the rate of Caucasian Memphian females. Researchers are unsure of why this phenomenon occurs, but many believe the lack preventative care or low compliance rates with suggested mammogram screenings might be the culprit. For this reason, these movements to make cost-free preventative care available to high-risk women especially beneficial to Memphian women.

For more information on preventative health services through the Affordable Care Act for adults, women and children, visit here: https://www.healthcare.gov/what-are-my-preventive-care-benefits/#part=1

Megan Ververis is a senior Neuroscience major at Rhodes College and an emergency department medical scribe.

Posted in: Health