Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What YOU Can Do: Women & healthcare reform #HCR

Letter to Congressional Leaders & White House
Drop both the Stupak abortion restrictions and the Nelson two-payment requirement! Improve affordability of health coverage by increasing subsidies and lowering out-of-pocket costs! Enact the biggest possible expansion of Medicaid eligibility, so more low-income women and families will get health coverage!
Those are among the recommendations included in a letter sent to Congressional leaders and the White House this week by Raising Women's Voices, our colleagues in Women of Color United for Health Reform and more than 60 allied organizations. Read the letter here.    
 Our letter to Congress and Capitol Hill was based on an extensive analysis RWV has done of the House and Senate bills.
First, we identified those RWV priorities that are included in both bills, such as prohibiting insurers from charging women more than men (gender rating) and denying people coverage because of pre-existing conditions. We compiled a list of 12 key ways that women and families will benefit from health reform when the law is finally enacted. Because both the House and the Senate have agreed to these provisions, we can be pretty certain they'll be in the final bill.
Read the list here and use it to explain to your colleagues, allies, friends and family members why there is a lot to be gained from health reform, despite the disappointing compromises that Congress made last fall.
Next, RWV staff went through the House and Senate bills and prepared a side-by-side comparison of the best provisions in each of the bills:
The House bill is better in many ways. It would expand Medicaid to more people and provide better subsidies to help other low-income people. It includes a public option, and would lift the anti-trust exemption that insurers now enjoy. But, the House bill also contains the unacceptable Stupak abortion coverage ban and lags behind the Senate bill in other ways. Check out our comparison chart here
Join our Cartoon Postcard Campaign
We're still working to Stop Stupak, but we also have to fight hard to oppose the abortion restrictions that were included in the Senate bill to win the vote of anti-choice Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson. Word from Capitol Hill is that even some pro-choice Senators and Representatives simply don't understand what's so bad about the Nelson restrictions.
Your Senators and Representative need to hear from you!  You can explain what's wrong with the Nelson abortion restrictions! Download and send them our cartoon showing the absurdity of the two-check requirement.   Show them graphically how the two-check scheme could violate women's medical privacy, allowing insurance company employees and even bank employees to know that we are paying for abortion coverage.

Highlight Admin Burden of 2-check Scheme
Yes, we know most of you don't hob-nob with insurance company CEOs. But maybe you know someone who works at an insurer and could convince the CEO to sign a letter we have prepared protesting the Nelson two-check abortion coverage scheme as a costly and wasteful administrative burden that could lead insurers to simply drop abortion coverage, instead of bothering to comply with the new regulations. Let us knowif you have a contact or a suggestion about somebody to approach. Email info@raisingwomensvoices.net

Staying in the Fight for Women's Health
Congressional staff are meeting round-the-clock, working to reach agreement on issues like the employer mandate, the proposed excise tax on expensive health insurance plans and other sticking points. They are aiming to send agreed-upon provisions to the Congressional Budget Office for an estimate on what the revised bill will cost as soon as this weekend. President Obama is pressing to have the bill on his desk before the State of the Union address (probably in early February), which means time is quickly running out to finish this bill right.
Alarmingly, the top leaders have yet to focus on solving the abortion question. That is being left until the end. Remember what happened when they did that in the House? We got stuck with an abortion coverage ban. The same thing happened in the Senate, when Senator Nelson withheld his support until he got 11th hour concessions restricting women's access to abortion.
It's been a long and exhausting struggle. But, we have to stay in the fight!
Please visit the RWV website for action alerts and talking points you can use to let your Senators and Representatives know that we are watching their every step, and won't be satisfied with health reform unless it really meets women's needs.

Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need
A joint project of
the Avery Institute for Social Change
the National Women's Health Network
the MergerWatch Project

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