Federal policy agenda advocated for women’s health

This is the federal policy agenda offered by the National Women’s Law Center and the Oregon Health & Science University to significantly improve women’s health.

Women’s Access to Health Care Services

1. Broaden eligibility requirements for federal publicly funded health insurance programs, including Medicaid, so low-income women without access to private insurance have coverage for the range of services they need.
2. Strengthen and expand federal publicly funded health insurance programs, including Medicare, to ensure it remains available and affordable to older and disabled women, and that they cover the full range of services women need.
3. Invest in outreach, public education, and culturally sensitive materials and remove bureaucratic hurdles to publicly funded health insurance programs.
4. Improve access to employer-based health care coverage for workers and their families and make the coverage affordable.
5. Strengthen public health system infrastructures to improve their ability to address major public health crises.
6. Remove barriers to quality health care faced by women of color and of different ethnic backgrounds.
7. Remove barriers to quality health care faced by lesbians.
8. Remove barriers to quality health care faced by women with disabilities.
9. Require that employers provide adequate, flexible family and medical leave benefits.
10. Require private insurers to cover contraceptives when they provide other prescription coverage.
11. Provide financial assistance to cover the costs of long-term care services.
12. Make available and accessible safety-net health care services for underserved and uninsured women.
13. Require private insurers to cover mental health conditions on the same basis that they cover physical health conditions.

Addressing Wellness and Prevention

1. Expand federal programs and increase funding to provide and/or cover preventive screenings like mammograms, Pap smears, and screening for colorectal cancer, osteoporosis, sexually transmitted diseases, and domestic violence.
2. Increase investment in programs that support physical activity, assist women in getting nutritious food, and educate women about nutrition.
3. Investigate gender-based barriers to girls’ and women’s participation in physical activities and enforce applicable civil rights laws when violations are found.
4. Expand federal efforts to encourage women not to smoke and allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco.
5. Increase support for substance-abuse programs that address women’s needs.

Key Conditions, Diseases, and Causes of Death

1. Increase funding for women’s health research.
2. Collect, publish, and analyze health data on women in general and on specific populations of women by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, region, and age.
3. Develop and support programs to evaluate and promote effective prevention and health promotion interventions.
4. Increase funding for programs to prevent and treat the diseases, causes of death, and conditions that constitute key health risks for women.
5. Enhance support for the specific programs and policies addressing heart and other cardiovascular diseases, especially the Well-Integrated Screening Education for Women Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN) program and for expanded funding for key screening, counseling, and therapy services for beneficiaries with cardiovascular disease.
6. Expand federal programs including Medicaid to provide HIV/AIDS pharmaceutical therapies and up-to-date treatment to women with HIV and AIDS.
7. Increase investment in mental health services.
8. Expand and invest in federal programs that provide family planning, make infertility treatments more affordable, and increase funding for comprehensive prenatal and postpartum care.
9. Protect and expand access to abortion services.
10. Enact legislation to codify the principles of Roe v. Wade to ensure access to abortion.
11. Remove limits imposed on U.S. funding of family planning services throughout the world.
12. Invest in surveillance and research on effective strategies to combat domestic violence and sexual assault, and support programs that address the health, financial, and other needs of victims of these violent crimes.

(For more information on the agenda, go to www.nwlc.org.)