Senate Democrats

Women’s Health Amendment Has Extensive Support

Washington, DC – Numerous women, medical professionals, public interest and civil rights groups have voiced their support for Senator Mikulski’s amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. These organizations recognize the importance of women’s health care and this amendment would promote comprehensive women’s preventive care and screenings at no additional cost to women. It would also preserve the doctor-patient relationship and protect patients’ ability to consult with their doctors on what services are best for them. These statements of support indicate the strong momentum for reform:

Letter Of Support For Mikulski Amendment. “The undersigned organizations committed to protecting and improving women’s health appreciate efforts to advance health care reform that works towards improving access to quality, affordable and comprehensive health care for all Americans. To that end, we urge your support for Senator Mikulski’s Women’s Health Amendment, which will help ensure that health care reform meets women’s needs. The Women’s Health Amendment will ensure that women have access to key preventive services they need throughout their lives by strengthening the bill’s existing protections. A May 2009 report by the Commonwealth Foundation found that nearly half of women delayed or avoided preventive care due to cost—a serious women’s health issue that any health care reform plan must address.” [Coalition including: National Women’s Law Center, Advocates for Youth, American Association of University Women (AAUW), American Civil Liberties Union, American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American College of Radiology (ACR), American Medical Women’s Association, American Nurses Association (ANA), American Psychological Association, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), Break the Cycle, Center for Reproductive Rights, Family Violence Prevention Fund, Jewish Women International, March of Dimes ,Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform, Medical Students for Choice, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC) – HPV Cancer Coalition, The National Coalition for LGBT Health, National Council of Jewish Women, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), National Institute for Reproductive Health, National Latina Health Network, National Organization for Women (NOW), National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Health Network, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, OWL – The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, Physicians for Reproductive Choice & Health (PRCH), Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need, Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), YWCA USA, 12/1/09]

National Organization for Women (NOW). “The National Organization for Women thanks Senator Barbara Mikulski for introducing the Women’s Health Amendment, which would require all health plans to cover women’s preventive care including mammograms and cervical cancer screenings…Until there are better diagnostic tools for breast cancer, women must have access to mammograms.  In particular, women who have family histories of breast cancer must have access to early mammogram screening.  NOW urges all Senators to support Senator Mikulski’s amendment which will guarantee women in their 40s access to mammograms and other screenings, and prevent insurance companies from making them so expensive women can’t afford them.” [President Terry O’Neill, 12/1/09]

National Partnership for Women and Families. “We urge you to support Senator Barbara Mikulski’s (D-MD) Women’s Health Amendment to ensure affordable and accessible coverage of women’s preventive health services. The amendment allows the Health Resources and Services Administration to develop evidence-based guidelines to help bridge critical gaps in coverage and cost-sharing for preventive health services, the same approach the bill takes to address gaps in preventive services for children.  This needed change is intended to make women’s unique health care needs – from family planning and well-woman visits to breast cancer screening and preconception counseling that promotes healthier pregnancies and optimal birth outcomes– more accessible and affordable for women.” [National Partnership for Women and Families, 12/1/09]

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. “On behalf of the millions of people of faith who support comprehensive health reform, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice applauds the Mikulski amendment as addressing the moral imperative of improved health care for women. More than half of women delay or avoid preventive care because of its cost and that women of childbearing age already spend 68% more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men. Women need and deserve improved, cost-effective preventive care throughout their lives. We are especially encouraged by the possible improvement of coverage for family planning services, which help women plan pregnancies and avoid unintended pregnancy.” [Reverend Dr. Carlton W. Veazey, President and CEO, 12/1/09]

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “Families affected by cancer are applauding the introduction of an amendment to the Senate health care reform bill that would guarantee women access to lifesaving cancer screenings such as mammography and Pap tests. Introduced by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the provision also encourages insurers to consider a variety of guidelines when making coverage decisions. Transforming our broken ‘sick care’ system depends on an increased emphasis on prevention and early detection – enabling us to find diseases like cancer when they are easier to survive and less expensive to treat.” [American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Statement, 12/1/09]

National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association. “NFPRHA strongly supports the Women’s Health Amendment offered by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590).  Senator Mikulski’s amendment will help ensure that health care reform truly improves women’s health by ensuring that women have access to the key preventive services they need throughout their lives. From family planning and well-woman visits to breast cancer screening and preconception counseling to promote healthier pregnancies and birth outcomes, the Mikulski Women’s Health Amendment will help millions of women to affordably access essential health care services.  We are grateful to Senator Mikulski, Senator Reid and their colleagues for recognizing women’s unique health care needs. ” [Clare Coleman, President & CEO, 12/1/09]

Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Today, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) offered the first Democratic amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—a Women’s Health Amendment that would guarantee health insurance coverage for basic women’s preventive care and screenings at no cost-sharing.  This amendment is fundamental to ensuring that the final health care reform bill meets women’s health care needs… Senator Mikulski’s amendment would address this divide by requiring health plans to cover at no cost-sharing comprehensive preventive care and screenings that address women’s unique health care needs.  The Women’s Health Amendment will require health plans to cover—in addition to the USPSTF recommendations—additional women’s preventive care and screenings provided for in guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  This amendment is critical to guaranteeing that there are avenues to enhance coverage for comprehensive women’s preventive care.” [Laurie Rubiner, Vice President, Public Policy & Advocacy, 12/1/09]