I have been wrapping up lots of loose ends for this impending baby. That means packing my hospital bag, folding clothes, cleaning out drawers, organizing documents, and otherwise nesting like crazy. Yesterday, as I was organizing some insurance documents, I remembered that I had heard something a few months back. Wasn't there some legislation whereby breast pumps are now covered by health insurance?
Why, yes, yes there was!
In 2010, President Obama passed the Affordable Care Act. Otherwise known as Obamacare. Heard about it in the news recently?
Under this act, women are entitled to free breast pumps and breastfeeding services. I had read about this, but in some ways, it sounded too good to be true. I mean, it's the opposite of any experience I've ever had with my insurance company. Something free, that's not absolutely medically necessary? No co-pays? No co-insurance? Just FREE?
I called my insurance company yesterday. They put me in touch with two medical supply companies. And in 5-7 business days, this pump will be delivered to me, absolutely free of charge. I get to keep it. Forever and always.
Over the years, I have read things about what other countries do for mothers. Things that would be unheard of here. Free (or highly subsidized) childcare, for example. Six months (or more) of paid maternity leave, guaranteed. That box of baby supplies and clothes that Finland provides to every new mother.
I'm not trying to knock our country, but here, when we have a baby, we pretty much go it on our own. We navigate childcare ourselves, in the backdrop of no guaranteed leave whatsoever. Many women simply cannot afford to go back to work, and then are out of the workforce for the short, and sometimes long, term, impacting their lifelong earning potential. Other women do go back to work, almost immediately, but do so out of absolute necessity, missing their children desperately and leaving them with substandard childcare. The fact is, my story is the easy one - I had choices. Most women don't, and it's tough out there.
We certainly don't get baby clothes from the government.
But.... we do now get breast pumps from our insurance companies. And that's a small step. And it makes me feel all grateful and fuzzy and warm inside.
I try not to get all political on this blog too often, so I'm going to refrain from debating the Government shutdown and debt ceiling and all of the rest of it. But I will say this...
Lets leave Obamacare alone. For a thousand reasons. Breast pumps being just one of them.
Thanks for my breast pump, America.