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Ian Reifowitz Headshot

Koch Brothers vs. the Truth on Obamacare: Real Benefits for Women's Health

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If Ayn Rand is, in the words of Robert Reich, "the philosophical guru of the modern Republican Party," then the billionaire, Rand-worshipping Koch brothers are its paymasters. Now they've launched a new campaign of lies, aiming their pocketbook at Obamacare, or, more accurately, at those who stand to benefit from its reforms. You know, small, "special-interest" groups like, say: women (and the people who love them), young people between the ages of 19 and 26, as well as others (and their affected families) who can't get coverage at work, or lose coverage when they lose their job, or can't get coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Does that sound to you like just about all of us at one point in our lives? Yeah, me too.

The Koch brothers' campaign is merely part of a larger, truly unprecedented Republican strategy to sabotage the entire health care law passed in 2009 by a Democratic House and Senate and signed by President Obama.

The Republicans need the law to fail because its success will only further cement the reality that government regulations can and do bring tangible benefits to people. In other words, the law's success will translate into further defeats for their party and for their extreme anti-government ideology. This has been the Republican thinking on health care reform for 20 years. Will the Koch/Republican campaign succeed? Not if we can help it.

These thoughts were on my mind as I had a conversation with a physician I know, an obstetrician-gynecologist. The physician mentioned a patient who asked if the implementation of Obamacare would alter her relationship with her doctor or the practice in general. The patient was quite concerned, unsurprisingly, as change can be unsettling -- especially change relating to one's health care.

The physician put the patient at ease, explaining that the patient-doctor relationship would not change, that she'd be able to continue seeing her current doctor. On the other hand, the Koch brothers' ad includes "Julie" asking: "If we can't pick our own doctor, how do I know our family is going to get the care they need?" Of course, there's nothing in the health care legislation that reduces a patient's ability to choose his or her own doctor.

The physician also informed her patient that, not only wouldn't their relationship change, the new law has some very specific benefits relating to her gynecologic and obstetrical care that have already taken effect. First, insurers are now mandated to cover contraceptive care with no patient co-pays. Unless one works for a house of worship (they were exempted under a compromise plan announced in February), one is guaranteed this coverage. Second, insurers must now fully cover breast pumps for nursing mothers (the law requires coverage for the cost of renting a pump, although many insurers decided also to cover the cost of purchase as well).

In other words, Obamacare makes it easier for a woman to control when she will become a mother, and easier for her to feed her children in a way of her choosing, despite the obstacles work and life may throw in the way. Two pretty important benefits, among many others.

This is the kind of information that can counter the lies put forth by the Koch brothers. Women and all of us deserve the truth.