Ten things you didn't know were in the health care law

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by David Schultz and Christian Torres / Kaiser Health News

KING5.com

Posted on July 13, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

So you think the Supreme Court upheld a law that requires most people to buy health insurance? That's only part of it. The measure's hundreds of pages touch on a variety of issues and initiatives that have, for the most part, remained under the public's radar. Here's a sampling: 

1. Postpartum Depression (Sec. 2952)

Urges the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct a multi-year study into the causes and effects of postpartum depression. It authorized $3 million in 2010 and such sums as necessary in 2011 and 2012 to provide services to women at risk of postpartum depression.

2. Abstinence Education (Sec. 2954)

Reauthorizes funding through 2014 for states to provide abstinence-only sex education programs that teach students abstinence is "the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems." Federal funding for these programs expired in 2003.

3.Power-Driven Wheelchairs (Sec. 3136)

Revises Medicare payment levels for power-driven wheelchairs and makes it so that only "complex" and "rehabilitative" wheelchairs can be purchased; all others must be rented.

4. Oral Health Care (Sec. 4102)


Instructs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to embark on a five-year national public education campaign to promote oral health care measures such as "community water fluoridation and dental sealants."

5. Privacy Breaks for Nursing Mothers (Sec. 4207)

Requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide a private location at their worksites where nursing mothers "can express breast milk." Employers must also provide employees with "a reasonable break time" to do this, though employers are not required to pay their employees during these nursing breaks.

6. Transparency on Drug Samples (Sec. 6004)

Requires pharmaceutical manufacturers that provide doctors or hospitals with samples of their drugs to submit to the Department of Health and Human Services the names and addresses of the providers that requested the samples, as well as the amount of drugs they received.

7. Face-to-Face Encounters (Sec. 6407)

Changes eligibility for home health services and durable medical equipment, requiring Medicare beneficiaries to have a "face-to-face" encounter with their physician or a similarly qualified individual within six months of when the health professional writes the order for such services or equipment.

8. Diabetes & Death Certificates (Sec. 10407)


Directs the CDC and the HHS Secretary to encourage states to adopt new standards for issuing death certificates that include information about whether the deceased had diabetes.

9. Breast Cancer Awareness (Sec. 10413)

Instructs the CDC to conduct an education campaign to raise young women's awareness regarding "the occurrence of breast cancer and the general and specific risk factors in women who may be at high risk for breast cancer based on familial, racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds such as Ashkenazi Jewish populations."

10. Assisted Suicide (Sec. 1553)

Forbids the federal government or anyone receiving federal health funds from discriminating against any health care entity that won't provide an "item or service furnished for the purpose of causing … the death of any individual, such as by assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing."

Reprinted with permission from Kaiser Health News.

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