With the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act put together by President Obama’s administration, health insurance plans were obliged to supportbreastfeeding. Has this improved the situation for working mothers? Here’s everything you need to know.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates insurance coverage to provide breastfeeding support, counseling and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. This includes breast pumps and support from a certified Lactation Consultant, at no extra cost for the family.
Insurance companies weren’t the only ones responsible for supporting breastfeeding: employers needed to chip in, too. The ACA amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and from then on employers are obliged to provide reasonable break time and space for nursing mothers to express milk whenever they need to. And just to be sure, the amendment also specifies that this place cannot be a bathroom (duh?!) and should be shielded from view and from intrusion from coworkers.
At the time, the bill caused somewhat of a controversy, with Republican Michelle Bachmann stating that the use of taxes to “tell people how to run their lives” was inappropriate. Come on!
Either way, ten years later everything seems to point to the success of the amendment: in the last 10 years (from 2008 to 2018) breastfeeding duration has increased by 10%, and the duration of exclusive breastfeeding has increased by 21%. Not too shabby! If you want to know more, check out today’s infographic.