The Affordable Care Act

Mamas on Bedrest: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace!

August 15th, 2011

Mamas on Bedrest, there is an unprecedented war going on against women’s health rights and our elected officials are leading the charge.

As many of you are at home trying to remain calm and quiet so that you can gestate a healthy, full term baby, our elected officials are playing ridiculous games of political “chicken” to further their political agendas. While many conservatives argue that raising taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans won’t help our economy (the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has a different take. Read their analyses Here. You can learn more about CBO policies and procedures here.) they emphatically insist that the way towards economic security and a balance budget is to cut social security and Medicare. So what if many seniors are already struggling to make ends meet? So what if millions of Americans have no health care coverage and the costs to treat theses individuals when they do become ill is bankrupting our nation? We most certainly can’t cut a corporate CEO’s seven figure bonus down to six figures. It would be absolutely barbaric and companies would ‘lose their best and brightest talents’!

What continues to baffle me is the lack of substantial facts presented when politicians make these statements. As indicated above, the CBO has analyzed “ObamaCare” and finds that it will in fact reduce healthcare costs and save the government millions of dollars in much needed revenue in the ensuing years. But if you are unwilling or unable to muddle through the myriad of tables and charts on the CBO website in order to see what the actual cost savings will be, take a look at Dr Jen Gunter’s Blog. Dr. Gunter is a staunch advocate of evidence-whether it be in regards to medicine, politics or to life in general. As it relates to funding health care for uninsured Americans, Dr. Gunter presents several  easy to read posts on how providing healthcare coverage will not only save the country millions of dollars, but also millions of lives.

Mamas on Bedrest, we need to be aware of what our elected officials are advocating and how it impacts us.  In her August 12, 2011 post, “Only one Woman on the “Super Committee”-Ouch!” Moms Rising contributing blogger Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner gives an eye opening (and potentially devastating) analysis of the impact of having just one woman on the government appointed super committee. Don’t know what the super committee is? It is a committee that arose out of the debt debate debacle. Both Republican and Democratic elected officials are supposed to each choose 6 individuals from their respective parties to participate in this committee whose mission is “to come up with at least $1.2 trillion more in spending cuts, with $1.5 trillion a more desired outcome.”

The problem with this committee is that it in no way is a committee of “the people”. We had no say in who is appointed to the committee and as a result, we’ll have no say in what they propose in the way of cuts. It is not representative of the American people. There is only one woman appointed yet as Finkbeiner points out, women are 507% of the US population. To be representative, there should be 6 women in this committee. There is one African American, James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), no Asian Americans and one Latino American, Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) We are literally at the mercy of 12 people, all reasonably wealthy and most far removed from the daily financial struggles of middle Americans and, depending on your political leanings, 6 whose opinions with which you in no way agree.

Mamas on Bedrest, we should all be outraged at what is going on in our government. More than that, we should all be lifting our voices, wielding our pens and tapping away on our keyboards to our elected officials making sure that they know, in no uncertain terms, that we elected them and that we fully expect them to represent us and our needs.

Now is the time. This past weekend Republicans held a “debate” in Iowa, mostly to showcase who will be running for candidacy as the next Republican Presidential candidate. President Barack Obama has already launched his re-election campaign. Members of congress are keenly scrutinizing the budget, jobs, the wars in the Middle East and other hot political issues to see how best to leverage these events to their advantage and to secure re-election. And nowhere are they really considering the needs of women and children; considering paid family medical leave or ensuring health care for everyone.

Mamas on Bedrest, now is the time. Write these officials, make your position known. If you have lost income, your job or your home in this economy,  and,  you have experienced these losses as a result of being on prescribed bed rest, write your elected officials. They need to know the impact of their decisions on their constituents and they need to know how constituents intend to vote based on their decisions.

Mamas on Bedrest, speak now or forever hold your peace. And believe me, if we don’t speak now, there certainly will be no peace.

Please sign the Moms Rising petition to let Senator Patty Murray know that women nationwide support her efforts and to let our elected officials know that we won’t sit idly by and be under represented and our needs ignored.

http://action.momsrising.org/go/1099?akid=2896.1844362.Ib8oZn&t=6

Here is info MomsRising compiled on why we need more diverse representation on the Super Committee:

[1]”Super committee: Who are these guys?” CNN

[2] “Six Republicans Named to Deficit Panel,” New York Times

[3]’Mom in Tennis Shoes,‘ The Atlantic

[4] “Sen. Murray will fight for women,” Publicola [5] Political negotiations, NPR

[6] “What makes a research team smarter?” Harvard Business School

[7] “Since 2009, 88 Percent Of Income Growth Went To Corporate Profits, Just One Percent Went To Wages,” Think Progress

[8] Washington Post-ABC News Poll

[9] “Economic Downturn and Bush Policies Continue to Drive Large Projected Deficits,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

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Mamas on Bedrest: Affordable care is very affordable-when you’re not paying for it!

January 24th, 2011

The Republican Majority in the House of Representatives voted last week to repeal The Affordable Care Act (aka The “ObamaCare” Law).

While the repeal in the house in and of itself isn’t likely to stand, the House of Representatives and Republicans in the Senate have vowed to dismantle the law item by item or to withhold funding so that it essentially dies.  If this action occurs, I am very worried that mamas on bed rest and others won’t have access to safe, effective, affordable health care.

One of the Republicans’ biggest complaints is the insurance mandate issue. They feel that it is be a burden on tax payers and states for people to HAVE to purchase insurance or be fined. What they neglect to mention (in addition to a suitable alternative to this item) is the fact that when people are uninsured and need to see a doctor, even for something as mundane as a cold, they go to emergency rooms where the fees to just walk through the door are about $500. As people are uninsured and often unable to pay, their health care (including prescriptions) is provided gratis (actually those of us who have health care end up footing the bill in the form of higher premiums with less coverage but I digress…). This is a situation that could have been avoided if we had gone to a single payer system, but many Americans are so afraid of “socialized medicine”, worrying that they wouldn’t be able to get what they want when they want,  that they would rather suffer premium hikes and our current barriers to care than to make sure that everyone has basic health care.

But those are all issues for another post. Here, I want to remind folks what Mamas on Bedrest and those mamas beyond pregnancy stand to lose if The Affordable Care Act is repealed or “inactivated”. Many of these benefits have been covered in the blog post “Improvements in Insurance Funding for Mamas on Bedrest”. But here are the highlights:

  • Coverage of preventive screenings and services for pregnant women at no extra charge. Yes, many women were charged additional fees to their insurance premiums for certain prenatal screening tests and treatments like folic acid supplements and smoking cessation programs, both known to improve the health of mother and baby.
  • The new law will require that employers offer paid time off/breaks so that mothers can go express breastmilk and the law requires that a designated place be made available-other than the bathroom. It’s about time!
  • Funds will be allotted for research on post partum depression. Again, it’s about time!
  • A pregnancy assistance fund, which will provide $25 million annually for 10 years for housing, child care and other needs. (Here is emergency funding for mamas on bed rest!!!)
  • $1.5 billion over five years will be dedicated to expanding home-visiting programs in which nurses and other providers visit pregnant teenagers and young mothers. While I can appreciate helping young mothers, I think that the program should be expanded to include ALL new mothers of ALL ages. As any mom knows, having a new baby is overwhelming. If there isn’t sufficient support the stress can contribute to post partum depression. (See April 30th Blog post, Austinwoman Magazine Article on Post Partum Depression)

In addition to these benefits, Mamas on Bedrest who develop chronic conditions will not lose their health care. That means,

  • Mamas who develop peripartum cardiomyopathies (enlarged hearts and heart failure) as a result of their pregnancies will continue to receive health care. To bring this point home, Brenda Torigiani, one of our featured mamas who is now living with peripartum cardiomyopathy, won’t lose health care coverage nor be denied health care coverage if her husband changes jobs because she now has a “pre-existing condition.”
  • Mamas who develop hypertension and gestational diabetes that becomes chronic hypertension or Type I or II diabetes mellitus post partum won’t lose health care coverage or be denied health care coverage due to pre-existing conditions. That means my friend who had an intracranial bleed (bleeding in her brain post partum due to high blood pressure) can’t be denied health care coverage.

The Affordable Care Act also removes the caps (limits) that can be placed on health care. This is great news for parents and families who have premature infants who will require lifelong medical care and medical resources.

While I could go on about the myriad of benefits that the Affordable Care Act will provide to Mamas, their babies and their families, none of it really matters if the bill is repealed or dismantled. Mamas on Bedrest, if you see your self in any of the above scenarios, I implore you to contact your federal legislators and tell them that you don’t want them to repeal or to dismantle or not fund The Affordable Care Act. Or perhaps you are in favor of our current system. If  that is the case then by all means do nothing because then we can all be sure that we will continue with more of the same.

I want to leave you all with one final thought. The legislators, the people who are working feverishly to repeal The Affordable Care Act or at the very least to inactivate it, all have comprehensive health insurance. Yes, as federal “employees”, they are entitled to some of the best health care that this country has to offer! And since they “work for us,” guess what, We’re paying for it! The very people who are trying to deny you health care coverage have health care coverage funded by your tax dollars!! Furthermore, many of them who “retire” from public service will continue to have this same comprehensive health care for the rest of their lives. They won’t have to worry about Medicare going bankrupt or supplemental insurances.  Again to make the point real, we have paid for every one of Dick Cheney’s cardiac stents and his most recently implanted heart pump. If he needs a heart transplant, we’ll pay for that too! When John Boehner starts needing treatment for emphysema (He’s an avid smoker and so is President Obama), we will pay for his oxygen, his inhalers and any other treatments that he may need. We’ve paid for Arlen Spector’s Prostate cancer treatments as well as for his lymphoma treatments. We paid for Ted Kennedy’s brain tumor treatments, Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s Treatments, Supreme Court Judge Ruth Ginsberg’s Colon cancer treatments….I could go on but you get my point. As federal employees, all of these individuals received some of the best medical care the United States has to offer all while several of them don’t even want to pay for you to get a flu shot.

I guess affordable care is very affordable-when you’re not paying for it.  No wonder they see no need for The Affordable Care Act.


Help Understanding The Affordable Care Act: The Health Care Reform Law

October 21st, 2010

I’ve had to put myself on a “news diet” of late. With all of the election shenanigans; The ‘he said she said’ and the flurry of accusations going back and forth between candidates and political parties, I was growing increasingly vocal and somewhat hostile towards my TV.

Print news provided me no comfort either. My most recent tantrum came after I read a news report that some 20 states had filed a lawsuit against the Federal Government in order to have the new health care law repealed. The chief complaint is that the mandate forcing people buy health insurance or be fined is unconstitutional and the entire law should be repealed-despite the fact that millions of Americans stand to benefit from the new health care law.  Some legal scholars have intimated that the entire law could be struck down if this mandate issue is found unconstitutional.  Others believe that the mandate portion of the law would be removed and the other parts of the law would remain. As for this particular case being argued in Florida, we won’t have any more answers until December.

What I have found most frustrating about the new health care law is its design. Could the drafters of the law have made it any more complicated? And what is up with all the sequential benefits? Why not just draw up the law and once it’s signed, all parts of it go into effect? As written, parts of the law won’t go into effect for another 3-4 years. And with the national contention, it could happen that parts of the law never become enacted at all!

I think that the much of the contention-at least as it related to the average citizen-is the fact that it’s really hard to know just what the health care law will mean to the individual. Yes, websites have been erected and the US Department of Health and Human Services swears it will be ever present to answer questions and to guide citizens through the transition and to answer specific questions.

But what if you don’t know what you don’t know?

The actual law is nearly 1000 pages long. Will the average American citizen take the time to access the law (either in print or on the web) and then actually read it? I’ve taken a look at the law and its written with so much legal jargon that it really is kind of difficult to understand. So how are we as consumers to know to what we are entitled? How are any of us to get a clear understanding of the law and what it entails so that we can make informed health care decisions?

Thankfully, there are many individuals and organizations that have taken the initiative to educate the public about the new health care law,  The Affordable Care Act. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, wrote an informative and insightful editorial on The Huffington Post about the new health care law means for women. MomsRising.org had a blog carnival in September where they posted blogs written by a variety of writers (mamasonbedrest included!) outlining what the new health care law means for US citizen.

Despite being one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in American History,  The Affordable Care Act will usher in a new era of health care in the United States. Many Americans, especially women, stand to greatly benefit from many of its provisions and protections. It’s a tough law to read in its entirety, but it can be done. Yet if the prospect of reading such a cumbersome legal document completely overwhelms you, take a look at some of these blog posts, as well as some of the dissenting blogs and really learn what the law is all about.

Don’t take anyone’s word at face value. Take the time to learn what the law means for you and then decide if you are for it or against it.