Affordable Care Act Helps Women (Except for the Postpartum Depression Part?)

Last week, the federal government heralded the Affordable Care Act and how it helps women. They touted the fact that, “20.4 million women with private health insurance gained expanded preventive services with no cost-sharing in 2011, including mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, flu and pneumonia shots, and regular well-baby and well-child visits.” They trumpeted the fact that, “… 8.7 million American women currently purchasing individual insurance will gain coverage for maternity services.”

Better healthcare for women is a great thing, but here’s what I want to know: What about the mothers with postpartum depression? What about postpartum depression screening?

Section 2952 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacted two years ago, called for more research into PPD screening, increased awareness for postpartum depression and better services for women who have it. Where are those things? When might they be coming? Why has no money been appropriated?

I read the brief that was released this week, entitled "The Affordable Care Act and Women." It lauds the legislation’s sections 1001, 1401, 1421, 2001, 2401, 2404, 3509, 4104, 4201. I didn’t see anything about section 2952. I care about those other sections, I truly do. But it’s my job to care most about section 2952. I really, really need to see action on 2952. I want to work with the federal government to get 2952 off the ground.

WE NEED 2952.

Are you with me? Do you care about 2952? Are you wondering why more isn’t done?

Katherine Stone is the founder of Postpartum Progress and is a nationally-recognized peer advocate for women who suffer mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. Follow her on Twitter: @postpartumprogr.

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