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The Affordable Care Act’s provisions for expanded women’s health preventive coverage in eight key areas go into effect today. As the Department of Health and Human Services says in its press release, insurers are now required to cover:

  • Well-woman visits
  • Gestational diabetes screening
  • Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling
  • FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling
  • Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
  • HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older
  • Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women
  • HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women

In a guest post for WBUR’s CommonHealth, Dr. Paula Johnson—Chief of the Division of Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital—looks at the issues these services address through both a public health and economic lens.

Johnson’s post is a terrific example of something we impress upon our Fellows during their yearlong Schweitzer experience: the importance of being able to present health inequity as an economic issue, not just a moral or health justice issue. Otherwise, it will be difficult for them to move past preaching to the choir.

For example, you may be passionate about extending STI screening and counseling to low-income women who are sexually active—you believe that it’s the right thing to do. But what about someone who believes differently—and tells you so in no uncertain terms? Your chances of opening (or changing) his or her mind will increase if you can skillfully reframe the conversation by pointing out that there are nineteen million new STI occurrences each year—and the associated annual burden on our health system is $17 billion.

This approach doesn’t just pay off on an individual level: you’ll be better equipped to build multi-stakeholder coalitions if you can frame the issue you’re addressing in economic terms. Case in point: Today’s press release from the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance—which frames ending chronic homelessness as a cost savings imperative, and announces a partnership with the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), Third Sector Capital Partners, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

If you’re passionate about health and social issues and you want to get better at making your case, honing your message, and expanding your audience, register for our Nov. 3 Schweitzer Leadership Conference in Cambridge, MA. Donna Latson-Gittens—Founder and Principal of MORE Advertising—will discuss her decades of experience helping causes and social innovators do exactly that.