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Hey, Ladies! Check out the Crucial Benefits of Obamacare.

Yesterday’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act was a “supreme win for women,” as our story by Jessica Arons, the director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress, helpfully explains.

Here’s the deal:

  • As of 2014, “gender rating”—where insurers can charge women higher premiums than men—becomes illegal in all new individual and small group plans.
  • Currently only 12 percent of plans sold in the individual market offer maternity coverage. Once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, about 8.7 million women will have guaranteed access to maternity and newborn care in all new individual and small group plans.
  • It’s common in today’s market for insurers to refuse to cover women because of gender-based “preexisting conditions.” These conditions can include issues such as having had breast cancer or a Caesarean section or having been a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. This practice, too, will be outlawed under Obamacare in 2014.
  • Under Obamacare, insurers are now required to cover critical preventive services such as mammograms, Pap smears, and well-baby care without cost sharing.
  • In addition, starting this August, more services specifically for women will be added to the list of preventive care that must be covered at no additional cost. That list includes contraception, gestational diabetes screening, breastfeeding counseling and equipment, annual well-woman care (in other words, a visit to the OB-GYN), and screening and counseling for domestic violence and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and the human papillomavirus.
  • Other benefits for women include the ability to see their OB-GYN without a referral, guaranteed breaks and a private space for nursing moms to pump breast milk while at work, and home visiting programs for at-risk new mothers.

Pretty wild, right?  There’s more.

[Edit: If you’re reading this out of the dashboard, it looks weird. Sorry!]

A Report From Inside the Supreme Court

Our reporter Aram Rostam was inside the Supreme Court when it made its historic ruling this morning. The scene:

Inside the Supreme Court building, it was all business. This is an efficient operation with its own police force, café and gift shop. About 160 lucky Americans, many of whom had waited outside all night to hear the historic ruling on health care reform, were finally allowed in and were now standing in single file in a corridor. They’d been issued orange admission cards stamped with their place in line.

The first on line was Carol Anderson, a blonde woman who says she works as a researcher for a living and believed the law “will force Catholics to go against their conscience.” She had tucked her admissions card, stamped with the number 1, into a framed picture of Mother Mary. She said she got to courthouse at 12:30 PM yesterday: “Some kind reporter from CBS lent me his folding chair. When you hit fifty and you don’t get sleep, it affects you more then when you are twenty.”

Behind her, with admissions card number two, stood Laura Brennaman, a registered nurse who had flown in from Ft. Myers, Florida, an ardent supporter of the bill. Though Brennaman and Anderson hold opposing views on the Affordable Care Act, they barely discussed it for the 20 hours they sat next to each other. Brennaman says she’d waited in relative comfort. “I brought a little camping folding chair,” she said. “It reclines. I probably slept a total of an hour last night. But I can sleep on the plane back. And I brought some trail mix and some tuna fish in a can. I’m good.”

Behind Brennaman was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-IA). The Republican firebrand, who had fought so hard against the law when it passed, was leaning against the wall near a portrait of Justice Edward T. Sanford. Brennaman said she noticed that members of Bachmann’s staff had taken two-hour shifts holding the Congresswoman’s place over night. “They were lovely,” added Brennan. “They all made it quite clear that they volunteered and they were happy to do it for her.” Bachmann’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Keep reading!

Planning our #aca live-coverage for tomorrow morning! (Taken with Instagram)

Planning our #aca live-coverage for tomorrow morning! (Taken with Instagram)