Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen introduced emergency legislation to protect women’s health care benefits required under the Affordable Care Act by making them local DC law. All 12 of Councilmember Allen’s colleagues had signed on as co-introducers, and voted unanimously to pass the emergency legislation.
“This Presidential administration is threatening to roll back basic, life-saving women’s health benefits by any means necessary,” said Councilmember Allen. “Just last week, we saw HHS Secretary Tom Price promise before a congressional committee that he’s going to do everything he can to take away coverage for women. We know benefits like cancer screenings and contraception improve health outcomes and lower spending. We needed to make these critical benefits local law for District women now.”
Many of the benefits guaranteed to women in the Affordable Care Act aren’t written into the law itself, but instead are required by guidelines and recommendations created by the Health Resources & Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Preventive Services Task Force. These guidelines and recommendations are particularly vulnerable to federal action.
“These insurance benefits help ensure women have access not only to screenings and preventive health, but are also important in pregnancy-related care and after delivery. Having recently welcomed our second child, my wife and I saw these vital benefits first hand – they made a huge difference in ensuring the health of both mom and baby,” Councilmember Allen said. “It’s unthinkable to me that all District women and families wouldn’t have these benefits.”
The emergency bill is similar to the permanent bill Defending Access to Women’s Health Care Services Amendment Act of 2017 Councilmember Allen introduced during the February legislative meeting. That bill advanced quickly to a hearing before the Committee on Health on March 20. There is no anticipated fiscal impact for the emergency bill.