November 16, 2015
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opened their proposed rule on nondiscrimination under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for review and comment from September 8, 2015 to November 9, 2015. Men’s Health Network welcomed the opportunity for dialogue on Section 1557, and specifically provided extensive comment with regard to section 92.1.
Men’s Health Network (MHN) has consistently voiced concern on the issue of health equity across genders, and finds that the ACA fails to address serious health concerns affecting men. Ana Fadich, Vice President of MHN, points to the fact that, "Today men are living significantly shorter lives than their female counterparts, across all races and ethnicities, and they are dying at higher rates for 9 of the top 10 causes of death. Men are also significantly less likely to seek preventative care .” While alarming, these statistics are not necessarily surprising when you consider the lack of comparable services that are covered for men under the ACA. Fadich notes that, “The ACA can stem this tide, by making comparable services like wellness visits, cancer screenings, and sexual health screenings available for both men and women."
In a letter addressed to HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell earlier this month, MHN maintained that, “While the ACA has done much to increase healthcare and promote preventive services, we find that unequivocal discrimination and gender inequities continue to exist.” MHN feels that these inequities should be prohibited under section 92.1, as males are currently being excluded from a number of health coverage benefits afforded to their female counterparts. Among those inequities are lack of access to preventive services, contraception and sexual health, as well as comparable access to health screenings.
“A stated intention of the Affordable Care Act is to increase access to health care with the intent of reducing health disparities. In order to achieve both aims, it must take into full consideration the health status of all populations” notes Dr. Jean Bonhomme MD MPH who is the Founder of the National Black Men’s Health Network and a MHN Board Member.
Bonhomme finds that “Certain segments of the male population, notably African Americans, Native Americans, veterans and males of low socioeconomic status bear a disproportionate burden of mortality and morbidity. Regrettably, ACA does not address many of these unfavorable health outcomes.
Men's Health Network (MHN) is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men, boys, and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with health prevention messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation. MHN manages the Men’s Health Resource Center and is the promoter of Men’s Health Month and Men’s Health Week in June. Learn more about MHN at www.menshealthnetwork.org and follow us on Twitter