Monday, July 13, 2009

Out FIRST WIN in Health Care Reform

From Planned Parenthoof Federation of America

We got our first win in health care reform today, thanks to a strong, coordinated federation-wide effort. Senator Mikulski’s Women’s Health Amendment #201 passed the Senate HELP Committee 12-11. This amendment captures Planned Parenthood’s priorities in health care reform by doing two key things: 1) it provides coverage—with no or limited cost sharing—for women’s preventative health care and screenings; and 2) ensures patients’ access to essential community providers, such as HIV/AIDS clinics, public hospitals, and women’s health centers like Planned Parenthood.

While we still have a long way to go, the first step towards victory is often the most important. And the Women’s Health Amendment would not have happened without all of your hard work. Since the amendment was filed late Tuesday, Planned Parenthood volunteers logged in 374 calls into Senate HELP Committee members—a huge number of calls for such a short period of time. Thank you! The Senate HELP Committee will continue marking up their bill tomorrow, and we expect to see votes on some of the more than 15 amendments that were filed this week attacking women’s health. We will keep you posted on the outcome of those amendments.
On the Senate Finance Committee front, we have generated more than 12,000 e-mails and phone calls since last week, urging Committee members to ensure that women don’t lose access to reproductive health care services. We are hearing that those e-mails and calls have made a significant impact, but we won’t know for sure until we see bill language. The Senate Finance Committee hit another roadblock this week and is not expected to release bill language this week, as originally planned.

The three House Committees are in the midst of last-minute negotiations on their joint bill and could release it as early as tomorrow. It’s possible the Energy & Commerce Committee may begin marking it up as early as Monday afternoon. This is a tough Committee, so we really appreciate all the affiliate-organized calls to E&C members—highlighting the critical message that women should not be worse off under health care reform . As we have seen with our success today, our power is in our organizing. Thank you again for all of your work!

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