After nearly a century of failed or incomplete legislative efforts, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), enacted by Congress in March 2010, establishes the principle that every American is entitled to affordable and effective health insurance coverage regardless of income or health status. Although many aspects of the act have received broad attention, its impact on reproductive health has received considerably less scrutiny, except when debated through the specific lens of particularly polarized ideological concerns. If fully implemented as planned, the PPACA has the potential to improve reproductive health in the United States in at least three ways: increasing the number of women and men with insurance coverage; increasing the value of insurance coverage for addressing reproductive health needs; and improving access to reproductive health services and information more generally. Several PPACA provisions stand out as having particular importance for reproductive health, including Medicaid family planning expansions, standards for an essential health benefits package, expanded coverage for contraception and other clinical preventive services, and teen pregnancy prevention programs. All these potential gains, however, are threatened by political, economic, and logistical challenges to the PPACA and by flaws in the legislation itself.

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