Women’s Health Advocates Call for Better Healthcare Reform

By Rachel Walden |

Last week, Raising Women’s Voices and Women of Color United for Health Reform delivered a letter [PDF] to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and several committee chairs on health care reform. The letter — signed by Our Bodies Ourselves and many other supporting organizations — thanks these leaders for their support of healthcare reform and provides recommendations related to women’s health for inclusion in the final legislation.

The signing organizations believe that the final legislation must not add new barriers or burdens to women’s access to abortion coverage and should eliminate the controversial Nelson/Stupak amendments. Instead, they argue, the legislation should return to the Capps amendment [PDF], which “preserves the ban on use of federal funds for abortion coverage, but does not exclude abortion from private insurance policies for which women will be using their own funds.” (See the Planned Parenthood Action Center for a good discussion of the three provisions.)

The groups also recommend a requirement that women’s preventive health services and screenings be covered without co-pays or deductibles; coverage of more people through expansion of Medicaid eligibility; establishment of an “exchange”; coverage for legal immigrants without a five-year waiting period; and making coverage more affordable while keeping penalties for violating coverage mandates less burdensome for low-income people.

The letter also expresses support for expansion of translation/language services; bringing Medicaid payment rates up to the same level as Medicare payments (in order to increase the number of providers accepting Medicaid); and a mandate that all Health and Human Services agencies collect data on ethnicity and primary language along with gender, race and other categories .

RWV is also running a cartoon postcard campaign to encourage people to contact their legislators and express their dissatisfaction with current versions of health care reform.

Related: The Center for Reproductive Rights recently released a video questioning the singling out of abortion for restriction in health reform legislation. The video asks what else an individual might not want to pay for with their own tax dollars. Watch it below, or read the transcript at Feministe.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFek_7v3jt4[/youtube]

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