Health Reform: What’s in it for Men?

With health reform sound bytes swirling across the media as ferociously as a September hurricane, I thought it would be helpful to assess some of the real proposals on the table.

Most elements of the reform effort will surely benefit men’s health outcomes. Health insurance subsidies and ending harmful insurance market practices will allow men to get the coverage and care they need without breaking to bank. Expanding Medicaid to childless adults and expanding the CHIP program will allow men and boys to benefit from continuous insurance coverage, thus reducing lapses in needed care. Employer shared responsibility requirements and small business insurance subsidies will finally provide men in the low wage workforce with proper coverage. Changes in Medicare will incentivize more coordinated care, reducing hospital acquired infections and readmission rates for men. New population foci on minority and gender health disparities in the population will allow researchers to analyze why men experience worse health outcomes and die younger.

There are other legitimate concerns though, the most recent focusing on the degree of preventive care coverage in the forthcoming “minimum benefits package” of health reform. This benefits package will be the lowest amount of coverage that can legally be offered by insurance companies, and the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) will recommend the list itself. Men’s health advocates have fought hard for the inclusion of prostate cancer screening benefits across the nation, and 37 states now require insurers to include the test. These strides may be threatened in reform, as the USPSTF does not currently recommend the procedure to be provided as a benefit. In the coming months, it will be important to address secondary effects of reform like the prostate cancer benefit in order to preserve successful past efforts and continue to support preventive services for male-specific diseases.

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to top