The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Section 2713, "Coverage of Preventative Health Services," pages 13-14, signed into law on Mar. 23, 2010, available at www.thomas.gov, states:
"(a) IN GENERAL.—A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall, at a minimum provide coverage for and shall not impose any cost sharing requirements for—
(1) evidence-based items or services that have in effect a rating of 'A' or 'B' in the current recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force;
(2) immunizations that have in effect a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with respect to the individual involved; and
(3) with respect to infants, children, and adolescents, evidence-informed preventive care and screenings provided for in the comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration.
(4) with respect to women, such additional preventive care and screenings not described in paragraph (1) as provided for in comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration for purposes of this paragraph.
(5) for the purposes of this Act, and for the purposes of any other provision of law, the current recommendations of the United States Preventive Service Task Force regarding breast cancer screening, mammography, and prevention shall be considered the most current other than those issued in or around November 2009."
Is Free Preventive Care Required under Obamacare? – YES
HealthCare.gov, a federal government website managed by the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, stated the following on its webpage “What Are My Preventive Care Benefits?,” available at healthcare.gov (accessed Aug. 20, 2013):
"All Marketplace plans and many other plans must cover the following list of preventive services without charging you a copayment or coinsurance. This is true even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible. This applies only when these services are delivered by a network provider…
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm one-time screening for men of specified ages who have ever smoked
Alcohol Misuse screening and counseling
Aspirin use to prevent cardiovascular disease for men and women of certain ages
Blood Pressure screening for all adults
Cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk
Colorectal Cancer screening for adults over 50
Depression screening for adults
Diabetes (Type 2) screening for adults with high blood pressure
Diet counseling for adults at higher risk for chronic disease
HIV screening for everyone ages 15 to 65, and other ages at increased risk
Immunization vaccines for adults--doses, recommended ages, and recommended populations vary…
Obesity screening and counseling for all adults
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention counseling for adults at higher risk
Syphilis screening for all adults at higher risk
Tobacco Use screening for all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users"
Jessica Arons, Director, and Lucy Panza, Policy Analyst with the Women's Heath and Rights Program for the Center for American Progress, in their May 24, 2012 Think Progress Health blog post "Top 10 Obamacare Benefits at Stake for Women," available at www.thinkprogress.org, stated:
"Obamacare guarantees coverage of preventive services with no cost sharing. Preventive care promotes health and saves money. Yet many preventive care services are out of women's reach due to high co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance. More than 50 percent of women have delayed seeking medical care due to cost, and one-third of women report forgoing basic necessities to pay for health care. But under the health reform law, insurers are now required to cover recommended preventive services such as mammograms, Pap smears, and well-baby care without cost sharing. More than 45 million women have already taken advantage of these services. And starting this August more services, including contraception, gestational diabetes screening, and breastfeeding supports, will be added to the list of preventive care that must be covered at no additional cost."
Barbara Reynolds, DMin, author and ordained minister, in a July 3, 2012 article "'Obamacare': Just What the Doctor Ordered," available at www.washingtonpost.com, stated:
"The Affordable Care Act expands health-care coverage for low-income Americans. It enables everyone to receive recommended preventive services at no cost and expands community-based primary and preventive care...
Moreover, since the law was passed, 2.4 million black seniors with Medicare have received preventive services such as diabetes screening and 5.5 million black Americans now have coverage for preventative health care services without additional cost sharing according to reports released by the Department of Heath and Human resources.
Beginning in August, women of all income brackets will be able to obtain contraception, annual well-woman visits, screenings for sexually transmitted infections and gestational diabetes, breast-feeding support and supplies, and domestic violence screenings without any co-pays or deductibles."
Carolyn Johnson, BSN, RN, Director of the Coalition of Labor Union Women's Cervical Cancer Prevention Works Program and the Contraceptive Equity Project, in a July 30, 2012 article, "'Obamacare' Means Preventative Care for Women," available at www.peoplesworld.com, wrote:
"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, starting on August 1, all new health care plans will be required at the start of their plan year to cover a variety of preventive health care services with no co-pay or deductible. That includes a wide range of health care services for women.
Because some preventive benefits are already in place, such as prenatal screenings and mammograms, over 20 million American women have received at least one preventive health care service without having to make a co-payment or pay additional costs."
[Editor’s Note: Based upon a neutral reading of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and bi-partisan third party analysis, this question seems to have a clear and obvious Pro (yes) answer, and ProCon.org has therefore presented the responses in a single column with no opposing perspective.]