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Rep. Bera and Coalition of Women's Health Champions Introduce Bill Calling for National Women's Wellness Public Awareness Campaign

Earlier today, Representative Ami Bera (CA-7) and twenty other women's health champions in Congress introduced the Women's Preventive Health Awareness Campaign Act, a bill calling for the Department of Health and Human Services to launch a national public outreach campaign to raise awareness about the importance of women's wellness visits. When women meet with their doctors for annual well-woman visits, it can prevent illness, improve health, and lower healthcare costs.

Supporters and Co-sponsors of the bill released the following statements:

Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-7): "Encouraging women to meet regularly with their doctors for wellness visits is essential to keeping our wives, mothers, and daughters healthy, and as a doctor, I've always made patients' health my top priority. Preventing illnesses or diagnosing them early when they can be treated is not only good medicine, it can save lives and cut costs."

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America: "Preventive care is fundamental to staying healthy, but right now, too many women are going without essential preventive services, from cancer and STD screenings to well-woman visits and birth control. That's why Planned Parenthood worked together with other health care organizations, Congress, and the Obama administration to increase access to preventive health care as part of the Affordable Care Act--a huge step forward for all Americans, especially women. Too many people are unaware of the services that are now available to them, though. That's why we need the Women's Preventive Health Awareness Campaign Act to spread the word about the women's preventive benefit under the ACA and about the potential of preventive services to save lives."

Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, president of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "As ob-gyns, we are thrilled to support the Women's Preventive Health Awareness Campaign. ACOG supports the ACA requirement that insurers cover well-woman care with no co-pays--this campaign will educate women about this benefit. It is essential that women have regular well-woman visits with their ob-gyns to encourage healthy lifestyle choices and to prevent, detect, and treat health problems before they get worse. A key component of preventive health care is contraceptive counseling which should occur with every woman every time she sees her physician."

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25): "Preventive care keeps Americans healthier and lowers medical costs over the long-term," Rep. Slaughter said. "Under the Affordable Care Act, women have unprecedented access to these vital services, including contraception, mammograms, and annual well-women visits. This new legislation will ensure that women across the country are aware of these opportunities for preventive care, which will lead to healthier American women and families."

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14): "I applaud Congressman Bera, a physician, for his leadership on women's health. The type of care a woman's body needs is complex and different than a man's. For instance, the number one killer of women is heart disease, and yet the symptoms of a heart attack are completely different in women and men, leading women to ignore important symptoms. This bill helps women make more informed decisions, seek out the most appropriate care, and work with their physicians to improve health outcomes and save lives."

Congresswoman Schakowsky (IL-9): "Thanks to Obamacare, women can now take advantage of preventive health services including annual wellness visits. These visits allow women to have access to critical screening services that help fight illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. I applaud Congressman Bera's leadership with the introduction of the Women's Preventative Health Awareness Campaign Act to inform women of the importance of these services."

Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04): "As Members of Congress and proponents of our landmark health care reform law, we must increase awareness of the Affordable Care Act and the tremendous benefits it holds for women. The Women's Preventive Health Awareness Campaign Act does just that. I am proud to support this campaign and all initiatives that help ensure women have the tools necessary to make informed health decisions."

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA-32): "Thanks to President Obama, the Affordable Care Act is expanding preventive health services to women of all ages across the country. The mental and physical wellness of all Americans is one of my top priorities in Congress, and I am pleased to join Congressman Bera in raising awareness and informing women on the critical benefits that are available to them now through the ACA."

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13): "Ensuring that women have access to the most up-to-date preventative care must be a top priority. Preventative care is critical in the fight against diseases like heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. Preventative care also helps to close the disparities between diagnosis and treatment for women, but especially women of color, and because of this, I'm proud to be an original cosponsor of the Women's Preventative Health Awareness Campaign Act."

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40): "The Affordable Care Act has made it easier for women to access preventative health services, but we need to make sure they know about these new benefits. The Women's Wellness Bill will ensure that this information reaches our constituents and women across the nation receive the care they are entitled to."

Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26): "Women deserve the right to make the best health decisions for themselves and their families. Preventative health services like well-woman exams and screenings save lives by detecting diseases and serious medical conditions earlier on and encouraging active, healthier lifestyles."

Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15): "Encouraging preventive health care does not just saves lives, it reduces long-term health care costs and saves taxpayers money. Now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, women have expanded access to preventive care services without additional costs. I am proud to join my colleagues as an original cosponsor of this legislation to encourage women to take advantage of the preventive care services now available and their lifesaving benefits."

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC): "The best and most cost-effective way to prevent and treat illness and improve heath is early diagnosis made possible by wellness visits, which are all-too-often overlooked and not fully understood. The national public outreach campaign is a win-win -- it will shine light on the importance of regular women's wellness visits, and in turn will not only help to diagnose and treat illnesses in the early stages, but it will also effectively cut health care costs."

Congressman Charles B. Rangel (NY-13): "The women in our country today tend to put their families first and their own wellbeing last, but their health should be a top priority. As they are influential mothers and breadwinners in our communities, it is important that they are healthy. I understand that it is not always easy to put personal health above all else, which is why I am proud to join this effort aimed at encouraging women to take proactive measures and schedule regular wellness visits. I am confident that these appointments will ensure that women continue to play an integral role in our society. Let's keep our women fit and fierce."

Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr (NJ-10): "Many women play significant roles in the health and wellbeing of others. In my family, my wife selflessly cares for our triplet teenagers, but her health is just as important. That is why I am proud to cosponsor the Women's Preventative Health Awareness Campaign. This effort would ensure that women are educated on health risks and prevention so that they can maintain their good health as they continue to support the health of others."

Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01): "The Affordable Care Act offers significant benefits for women: improved access to preventive healthcare services, lower costs for families, and increased security for middle-class women. I am proud to join my colleagues in a campaign to build awareness of these critical provisions so all women can have the information they need to access the benefits available to them through ACA."

David Cicilline (RI-01): "As a country, we need to do more to encourage women to meet with their primary care provider for annual wellness visits and enjoy access to quality, affordable health care. I am proud to join this effort as an original co-sponsor of legislation that directs the Department of Health and Human Services to begin a new outreach campaign on the value of wellness visits to promote healthy outcomes for all women."

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