Supporting Survivors: the Affordable Care Act and Federal Health Policy Addressing Intimate Partner Violence in Community Health Centers

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Dunn, Erin
Intimate partner violence; community health center; violence against women; Affordable Care Act; Violence Against Women Act
article description
How does the Affordable Care Act (2010) address intimate partner violence and its health impacts on survivors? Is there evidence that this legislation positively impacts access to health services for survivors? I seek to compare provisions under the first major piece of federal legislation addressing gender-based violence, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, to the major policy reforms of the Affordable Care Act. I examine this question through legislative histories of the relevant portions of the Affordable Care Act and the Violence Against Women Act addressing intimate partner violence. In order to examine the Affordable Care Act’s impact on survivors’ and their health, I will analyze health service mandates, the medical community response, and federal intervention program funding between these two federal acts. In particular, I focus my study on community health centers as sites most responsive to health coverage expansions, providing accessible care to patients most underserved and at the greatest risk for violence. Through this study, I illustrate how the Affordable Care Act’s service and funding mandates improve upon prior legislation, and impact access and quality of care for survivors.