KENNEDY BILL MAKES HEADWAY FOR HEALTH REFORM Confronts obstacles faced by women
(Washington, DC) The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee unveiled the full text of its health care reform bill, ÂAffordable Health Choices Act,Â this afternoon. The following is a statement by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National WomenÂs Law Center (NWLC):
ÂThis is a momentous day for our country, and for the millions of Americans who canÂt afford to wait any longer for meaningful reform that will guarantee quality, affordable comprehensive health care for all. Senator KennedyÂs leadership on the Affordable Health Choices Act reflects a lifetime of dedication to health care issues, and the nation owes him a debt of gratitude for lighting a fire under health care reform.
ÂThis bill reflects years of work, expertise, and careful consideration of options. The critical headway it makes towards womenÂs ability to secure access to quality, affordable health care throughout their lives reflects this extensive work and expertise.
ÂSenator KennedyÂs bill underscores that quality, affordable and comprehensive health care for women and their families is attainable now.
ÂOne of the exciting aspects of the bill is that it confronts many of the particular obstacles faced by women in our current health care system, and eliminates many insurance industry practices that are especially harmful to women.
ÂFor example, it bans the discriminatory insurance practice of gender rating, whereby women are charged more than men in the individual insurance market, even with maternity benefits excluded, and Â in the case of group coverage Â employers are charged based on the gender make-up of their workforce. The bill would also ban the insurance industry practice of rejecting applicants based on health status or history Â a harmful practice that has, for example, prevented survivors of domestic violence and women who have had caesarean sections from getting health coverage.
ÂWe commend Senator Kennedy for his visionary leadership on health care, and look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to enact meaningful reform that will guarantee quality, affordable comprehensive health care for all.Â
NWLCÂs project Reform Matters: Making Real Progress for Women and Health Care (http://www.nwlc.org/reformmatters), started in early 2008, empowers women to be vocal advocates in the fight for progressive health care reform. As an active member of several leading progressive health care coalitions, including Health Care for America Now! (HCAN) and the Herndon Alliance, NWLC brings a unique perspective to the table by advocating for the specific needs of women.
To learn more about NWLCÂs work around women and health care reform, visit www.nwlc.org/reformmatters. To schedule an interview with Marcia Greenberger, contact Adrienne Ammerman at 202-588-5180 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Women's Law Center is a non-profit organization that has been working since 1972 to advance and protect women's legal rights. The Center focuses on major policy areas of importance to women and their families including economic security, education, employment and health, with special attention given to the concerns of low-income women. For more information on the Center, visit: www.nwlc.org.