Study: Obama's health law to bring US more in line with Europe

The healthcare law will bring the United States in line with Europe by insuring more women and reducing their healthcare cost burden, according to a new study. 

The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit research foundation that supports President Obama's health overhaul, emphasized that the law must be fully implemented for the United States and Europe to be more closely aligned. The Supreme Court's ruling made the law's Medicaid expansion, its major tool for increasing coverage, optional for states.

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"We are on the cusp of a remarkable feat — providing comprehensive, affordable health insurance to almost all American women," Commonwealth President Karen Davis said in a statement.

"It is crucial that states actively work to implement the reform law and take full advantage of all the benefits the Affordable Care Act stands to offer to their residents."

The study described U.S. and European women as "oceans apart" in terms of healthcare costs and found that many in the United States forgo needed medical care as a result. 

U.S. women also report problems paying medical bills at more than double the rate of countries such as Australia, France and Sweden, and at 13 times the rate of women in the United Kingdom, according to the study.

The Commonwealth Fund highlighted many of health law's popular provisions, including its ban on insurance exclusions due to pre-existing conditions and its guarantee of wider preventive care benefits.

Urging states to adopt the Medicaid expansion, the study said, "Once fully implemented, these reforms will provide near-universal health insurance coverage for women."

Read more from the study and on the tough choice on Medicaid facing governors.