Guest Post by MomsRising
Moms Rising sent around a letter in response to Bill O’Reilly’s inflammatory
commentary on the news that the Affordable Care Act’s new guidelines
require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as
well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and
contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance, or a deductible. We thought midwives might
enjoy reading their counterpoint, packed with facts, below.
Are nursing mothers and "breastfeeding
stuff" a threat to the lagging US economy?! Fox News commentator Bill
O'Reilly thinks so.
During his show last week, O’Reilly blurted: "Now
the federal government is ordering the health insurance companies to pay for
all breast feeding stuff, all female birth control stuff, all preventative
measures for doctors for ladies that go in. What do you think that’s gonna do?
That’s going to inhibit hiring even more!"[i]
Talk about being in a “spin zone!” Supporting breastfeeding "inhibits
hiring"!? Not so!
O'Reilly is flat-out misinformed.Study
after study shows that allowing women to breastfeed benefits our economy and
saves our businesses money.[ii]
There are huge savings involved. One study by the American Academy of
Pediatrics has estimated that we could save $13 billion per year in health care
costs if 90% of women were able to nurse their babies for at least six months
as recommended by doctors.[iii] These
added savings for businesses would spark hiring, not inhibit it.
What is REALLY going on anyway? The
Department of Health & Human Services recently announced that patient
co-pays for services related to breastfeeding, contraceptives, and critical
health screenings for women will be eliminated beginning in August
2012 (See below for more details about what’s covered!).[iv]
This is terrific news! These new
guidelines will save women—and their employers—money by encouraging early
detectionrather than costly treatments for illnesses that could have been
prevented in the first place.These changes will also reduce the financial
barriers for women who choose to breastfeed, a practice that can significantly
reduce our country’s overall health care spending due to improvements in child
Businesses themselves have found that
supporting their employees who decide to breastfeed saves them money in reduced health care costs. For
example, the insurance company CIGNA found that the 350 employees who
participated in their breastfeeding support program saved the company $240,000
in health care expenses and $60,000 in absenteeism. Another insurance company,
Mutual of Omaha, found that the health care costs for newborns were three times
lower for babies whose mothers participated in their maternity and lactation
support program, which resulted in $115,881 of savings in their health care
We owe it to nursing mothers and businesses to continue to support mothers who
choose to breastfeed.
Starting in August 2012, insurers will be required to provide the following
preventive health measures without co-pays:
counseling and equipment—making trained breastfeeding counselors available to
all women during pregnancy and after they give birth and making breastfeeding
equipment available to those who want it.
- Screening for
- Screening for sexually
contraceptive care so that women, if they wish, can plan and time pregnancies
to protect their health
preventive care visits
- Screening and
counseling for intimate partner violence
Read more information here
For more information on the new preventive health guidelines, check out this blogpost from Secretary Sebelius.
*Tell Bill O'Reilly and Fox News to stop the spin and set the record straight on the facts about breastfeeding, and to stop scapegoating breastfeeding moms who are saving the country money!
We’ll deliver your signatures, along with the real facts about the Department of Health & Human Services’ new guidelines relating to breastfeeding directly to Bill O’Reilly and his bosses at Fox News. The female viewers of Fox News deserve to hear what's really going on with their health insurance coverage.