Minutes ago, the Senate voted to kill the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act of 2005 (HIMMA, S. 1955), a bill that threatened to weaken key protections for health consumers by preempting state consumer protections, including those guaranteeing coverage of contraception, cancer screening and treatment, and maternity care. The vote was 55-43, 5 less than the 60 required to invoke cloture (which ends debate and allows a vote on the bill). The vote was largely along party lines, with all Democrats voting "NO" except Ben Nelson from Nebraska and Mary Landrieu from Louisiana. Lincoln Chafee from Rhode Island was the sole Republican voting "NO" on cloture.
Divisions in both parties, plummeting polls and the role of reproductive health in America are all in the news, with the biggest story being today’s confab of the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to discuss complications resulting from differing delivery methods of Mifeprex, the prescribed abortion medicine. According to News Medical Net, the “manufacturer Danco has said about 575,000 women have taken it since its approval and there is no evidence linking it to the deaths and has repeatedly said the pill is safe.” Toxic shock, the cause of the women’s death, can occur during pregnancy, after childbirth, miscarriage or termination of a pregnancy. See Fact v. Fiction for more information. Paul Chesser writes for the American Spectator in an anti-sex screed against the recent Guttmacher Institute report Abortion in Women’s Lives and concludes, “There's no reason everybody else should have to pay for the sex poor people want and the pregnancies they don't want.” Check out Reckless Rhetoric for more evidence of “enlightened” thinking like Mr. Chesser’s.
So, umm... I don't really know what to say about this, except that it's a sculpture of Britney Spears. Naked. Holding onto a wolf's head. Crouched on a carpet. As she gives birth. (And apparently, the baby's head is visible on the real sculpture)
In an attempt to get to the bottom of last-minute conference changes, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) demanded an explanation from the Administration today.He states, “In effect, it appears presentations at a public health conference were censored because they criticized abstinence-only education.This attempt at thought control should have no place in our government.”
Supposedly, Laura Bush will head the US delegation to the UN session (UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS in New York late this month.
In advance of the First Lady’s visit, the Administration is doing all that it can to make sure she is well received (not!) by blocking various words and phrases from inclusion in the political declaration -- including all reference to condoms.Funny, the Rumor Mill thought the Administration supported ABC?
Anti-abortion forces were thwarted by the Minnesota Senate yesterday in their efforts to defy a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision granting access to a full range of reproductive health options to low-income women. The Senate removed all funding for Health and Human Services thus removing the amendment promoted by right-wing activists.
A new, comprehensive report on child health from Save the Children draws attention to the simple yet unmet needs that make the difference between life and death in much of the developing world. Reporting in the International Herald Tribune highlights the report’s conclusion that the hours after birth are the most critical for protecting children. This report raises the nearly seamless issue of gaping needs for adequate maternal health care around the world. For more on that front, see our recent blog entry on maternal mortality.
Melinda Gates (yes, that Gates) writes in Newsweek about the big wrench in entrenched thinking about abstinence-only education: increasingly, women in the developing world are at greater risk contracting HIV within marriage than from any other source. The best solution? In her mind, microbicides. Behavior change would be great, but in the meantime, microbicides would save the lives of millions...
Marilyn Keefe, Vice President for Public Policy at NFPRHA joins us today with her thoughts on HIMMAA.
Congress is once again trying to address a very real problem with ill-conceived legislation certain to do more harm than good: The Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (“HIMMAA”, or S. 1955).
The problem?The inability of small businesses to afford health insurance.Congress’s solution?Allow insurance companies to discriminate against employees based on everything from how old they are to where they live and take away state protections that guarantee coverage of basic health care services.Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?