Breast Pumps Not Covered Under Health Care, But Denture Adhesive Is
Another way that the new and improved health care system has hung women out to dry. Thanks to health care reform, individuals can now take care of personal health needs with IRS-sheltered flex accounts. Unless they're breast-feeding moms. While the accounts cover things like denture adhesive, acne medication, and astroturf for allergy-prone kids, they exclude breast pumps, a groundbreaking innovation which has allowed countless working moms to feed their infants healthy breast milk. Because despite studies showing the benefits of breastfeeding, breast pumps, which can cost upwards of $500, aren't considered preventative care by the IRS, which is apparently now moonlighting as a medical approval board. Women's and children's health groups are none too pleased with this revelation,published in the New York Times. Jodi Jacobson at RH Reality Check writes a particularly scathing response:
While breastfeeding equipment and supplies weren't covered before health reform, the whole purpose of reform (please help me out here if I missed the "purpose" of reform) was to improve upon and eliminate disparities in health care, including those disparities based on sex and gender. And another major goal of the health care overhaul was to control medical costs by encouraging preventive approaches to health. This underscores the nonsensical nature of excluding supplies and support for breastfeeding, one of the most effective preventive "interventions," you can find.A similar debate has been roiling over whether birth control qualifies as preventative care--(actually, it definespreventative, but the government doesn't seem to think so). The real question is, would the IRS and other agencies really be having these nitty-gritty arguments over beneficial vs. preventative if the needs in question were specific to the male half of the population? One has to wonder. Read more at the NY Times and RH Reality Check.