271312 A matter of equity: Gender, health care, and the categorization of contraception in the Affordable Care Act

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 11:10 AM - 11:30 AM

Amy Cabrera Rasmussen, PhD , Department of Political Science, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Is contraception part of health care or is it something distinct that has no place within debates about health? Such questions remain part of American discourse and policy making decades after the introduction of prescription contraception, and despite the millions of American women currently utilizing such methods. This paper utilizes interpretive policy analysis methods to examine the changing categorization of contraception vis-à-vis health insurance as part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The paper begins with a brief overview of the history of contraception and health care, showing how contraception's classification has been debated within both state and national level policy making. The paper then focuses in on the policymaking processes leading up to contraception's controversial inclusion among preventive care benefits within the Affordable Care Act. In the process, it examines the frames that have been used by advocates on both sides of the issue to position contraception as either within or outside of health care and illuminates the powerful symbolic role played by contraception and women's health issues more broadly within these debates. Data analyzed includes official policy documents, formal statements (written and verbal) made by policy actors, and related media accounts of the debate between 2009 and the present. The interpretive category and framing analysis is facilitated by use of Atlas.ti to identify patterns and ensure reliability of findings.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Participants will develop a deeper understanding of the role of contraception in both past and ongoing debates concerning health care reform. Participants will improve their ability to analyze the role of categorization, framing, and symbols in health policy debates. Participants will be able to assess the likely impact of contraceptive coverage on the accessibility and affordability of family planning and health care in the United States in the long term. The discussion of existing efforts to frame issues of women’s health equity will also enable participants to identify best practices for future policy advocacy.

Keywords: Contraception, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I received my doctorate in Political Science in 2005 from Yale University, and have received research fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the American Association of University Women, and the California State University Long Beach Research Infrastructure for Minority Institutions health disparities program. I have published articles on contraception and HIV/AIDS policy making and have projects on infant mortality and health disparities in preparation for publication.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.