The Institute of Medicine on July 19 released its report to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, recommending that a number of preventative health care services for women be added to guidelines included in the new health care reform law – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The recommendations include requiring insurers to provide birth control for women free of charge or cover any co-pay as a way of reducing unintended pregnancies and abortions. Also among the IOM recommendations: require insurers to cover screenings for domestic violence, HIV, and gestational diabetes; include DNA testing for human papillomavirus as part of routine cervical cancer screenings; and include counseling to promote breast-feeding. "We are one step closer to saying goodbye to an era when simply being a woman is treated as a pre-existing condition," said U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, in a press release in response to the recommendations by the nonpartisan group, which is an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. "We are saying hello to an era where decisions about preventive care and screenings are made by a woman and her doctor – not by an insurance company."
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