As a senior adviser to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett is one of the most powerful women in Washington. But Jarrett, who chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls, took time out of her busy schedule to talk to Cosmopolitan Magazine editor-in-chief Joanna Coles about the Affordable Care Act and its benefits for women on Cosmo Radio.
ACA enrollment begins October 1, 2013 and coverage through the plan will take effect in January 2014. Jarrett explained the immediate and long-term effects of both milestones for the 85 percent of Americans who currently have health insurance as well as the 15 percent who don’t. Premiums for other insurance providers are already coming down in anticipation of market competition, while the uninsured will no longer depend on emergency rooms for health problems that are easily preventable, she said.
“[The emergency room] is not a place to get the kind of consistent preventative care that women should have if they want to live a long life and be as healthy as possible,” Jarrett said.
Jarrett said her experience as a single mom inspired her to fight for women’s health, while Obama’s experience being raised by one gives him an understanding of the urgency of the healthcare crisis for women.
“We all know that one of the major reasons women don’t take care of themselves is that they can’t afford it. If it’s a choice between putting food on the table for your children or buying them school supplies or paying your rent, we always put our own health last,” Jarrett said. “What the president wanted to do is to make sure that women are able to take care of themselves in an affordable way.”
Through the ACA, women will have access to mammograms, prenatal care and screenings for cervical cancer and domestic violence, among other services.
Listen to the full interview for more details about the ACA, plus Jarrett’s advice for working moms.