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Submission to the Committee on Preventive Services for Women

March 9, 2011

Washington, DC

This is the group convened through the Institute of Medicine and charged with recommending which preventive services are necessary for women’s health and well-being and should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines for preventive services for women.

Making sure that the full range of reproductive health care is included on this list is critical because these are the screenings and services that will be covered without cost-sharing in the new health plans from the Affordable Care Act. This is a prime opportunity to codify the essential nature of family planning and reproductive health services into the implementation of health care reform.

ARHP’s leadership supports all common-ground strategies that can improve health outcomes for women of all reproductive ages and their families. Reproductive health is a key part of overall health, and incorporates a broad range of essential health care matters including contraception, family planning, abortion, sexually transmitted infections and HIV, reproductive cancers, infertility, sexuality, reproductive genetics, reproductive and environmental health, and other linked issues.

Reproductive health is critical for all Americans, regardless of their economic status. To meet their widely varied health needs, ARHP supports the availability of as many safe, effective contraceptive and disease prevention technologies as possible.

In particular, ARHP requests that the Committee on Preventive Services for Women recommend coverage for the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices, from easily reversible methods to permanent contraception. We further request the committee to support coverage of HPV testing as a preventive service, in accordance with the medical and professional society guidelines of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Cancer Society, and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.

Growth in the numbers of healthy, planned families in the US would be a very positive outcome from this simple step, with practical implications for all Americans. The cost effective action of making family planning and reproductive health services more widely available would not only increase the health and quality of life for many individuals, but has the potential of strengthening the nation as a whole.

We respectfully submit this request to the committee for your consideration, and hope that you will recommend inclusion of these essential preventive services.