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Support Massachusetts Contraceptive Access, Sexual Education and Patient Confidentiality

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Massachusetts has always been a leader in health care, and for the well being of our citizens we must continue. Three important bills have been introduced in the Massachusetts state legislature for the 2017-2018 session, addressing contraceptive coverage, sexual education, and patient privacy. These issues affect quality of care, financial well being and ability to make informed decisions for the people of our state. We call on Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, and all the members of the Massachusetts State Senate and House of Representatives to make urgent effort to move this legislation forward to a YES vote.

The Affordable Care Act guaranteed contraception would be covered under insurance plans at no additional co-pay because it is preventive care. The current President has vowed to repeal the ACA, and legislation has already been passed to pave the way for that to happen very quickly. An Act Relative to Advancing Contraception Coverage and Economic Security In Our State (ACCESS) (S.499, H.536) would protect contraceptive coverage at the state level, ensuring continued access to these widely used forms of preventive health care and preventing increased financial burden on patients. 

When sexual education is offered in Massachusetts schools, there is no framework in place to guarantee what is being taught is medically accurate or age-appropriate. With STI rates on the rise and unintended teen pregnancy still a major issue statewide, education must be prioritized to encourage informed decision making. An Act Relative to Healthy Youth (S.234, H.2053) would ensure sexual education, when taught, provides factual and age-appropriate information.

If a patient receives care under current law, an explanation of benefits is then sent to the policy holder. This means that it is impossible for those on a family policy to maintain a confidential relationship with their healthcare providers. This can be an issue when adult children still on their parents health plan are in need of things such as reproductive care, HIV treatment, etc. and choose not to seek it out for fear of their parents finding out. Or when someone in a domestic abuse situation needs to seek treatment but does not for fear the abuser will find out. An Act to Protect Access to Confidential Healthcare (S.591, H,2960) ensures patient confidentiality by allowing the explanation of benefits to be sent to a person other than the primary policyholder. 

Access to care, proper education, and protection of privacy are vital to maintaining a healthy community. We as constituents are committed to these issues and ask that the elected officials who represent us stand with us in preserving and improving our health and that of our fellow citizens by co-signing each of these bills. 

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