FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nation's Leading Medical, Labor, Advocacy Groups Urge Congress to Reject Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization & Affordability Act
Senate Mark-Up Scheduled for Wednesday
WASHINGTON, DC — March 7, 2006 — Warning that it would erase years of work by states to give consumers adequate health coverage and preempt laws that guarantee coverage for cancer screenings, diabetes supplies and more, 36 of the nation’s top health and medical, women’s, labor and advocacy groups today called on Congress to reject S. 1955, the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization & Affordability Act. The bill is scheduled for mark-up in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on Wednesday.
In a letter sent to Senators on the HELP Committee, the groups noted that the bill was a “sincere effort to address shortcomings of the Association Health Plan legislation,” but warned that it could take away states’ power to ensure that consumers have access to the health care services and providers they need. “Cancer screenings and treatment, diabetes supplies and education, mental health, preventive care, rehabilitation, well child care, maternity care and other vital benefits and protections would be lost if S. 1955 becomes law, ” the letter says, noting that older Americans and those with complex health needs and disabilities are likely to suffer most. S. 1955 would also preempt stronger state laws that limit the ability of insurers to charge higher premiums based on health status, age, gender, geography and business size.
Signers include: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of People with Disabilities, American Diabetes Association, American Nurses Association, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, National Association of Social Workers, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, United Cerebral Palsy, and United Steelworkers International Union, among others.
In a separate letter to Senators, National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra L. Ness writes that S. 1955 would cost women and families direct access to obstetricians, gynecologists, coverage for contraception, and osteoporosis, breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening. The bill has a “broad and perilous reach” and could “wipe away consumer protection in the individual, small group and large group health insurance markets. As health care costs continue to increase, women are often the ones making difficult choices about how to make ends meet. S. 1955 is not a solution. Please reject this proposal.”
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family.