Health system reform is all over the media—from newspapers to TV to Twitter. So far, details have been sparse on the various plans being developed in Congress. That will soon change, however, and you need to be prepared, because the goal of both the U.S. House and Senate is to pass their versions of health system reform by the August recess!
Many of the health system reform plans being proposed would build on Medicare as a foundation—and that foundation is crumbling because of an archaic system currently in place. This system is scheduled to cut Medicare physician payments by more than 20 percent Jan. 1, 2010, with repeated annual cuts coming after that.
These proposed cuts are a huge problem for patients—and for many families—because they will prevent doctors from taking on new Medicare patients, discourage many from investing in new health technology and make some think about closing their medical practices altogether.
Please take (less than!) a minute to watch Dr. Cynthia Bradford, of Oklahoma City, Okla., talk about health system reform—and why you should be involved.
Check out NWLC's Platform for Progress, with concrete proposals and steps that should be taken by the new Congress and Administration in the areas of education, employment, basic economic security, health, and legal rights.
This week and next, Members of Congress will be in their home districts for recess — and this is an important opportunity to make sure they hear the health care reform message at home. Health care reform that meets the needs of women and their families must become a reality this year. Our partners at Health Care for America Now are holding events with lawmakers across the country to make sure they know that we need real health care reform. More than 15,000 people from across the nation will be joining events taking place in cities near you over the next few weeks. It is important for your Members of Congress to see you face-to-face and to hear your voice to drive home the message that America wants real health care reform now.
Last week, both the U.S. House and Senate cleared a major hurdle in the effort to pass a progressive budget that marks the first step in making critical investments for our nation’s future and lays out a plan for long-term economic growth. There are several differences between the House and Senate budget resolutions. So as the process moves to the next step, a conference committee to resolve the differences, we’ll be watching to make sure that the budget supports action on women’s priorities and pays for these investments in a fair and responsible way: by cutting corporate subsidies, closing corporate tax loopholes, and beginning to make the very wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.
Equal Pay Day, April 28, marks the point in 2009 when the average woman’s wages finally catch up with what the average man earned in 2008. Women still earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men — and for women of color, the numbers are even worse. We're fighting to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill currently before the Senate that would build on the success of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and deter wage discrimination against women. Also, on Equal Pay Day, NWLC is leading efforts to raise a united voice in support of fair pay by inviting bloggers, as well as Facebook and Twitter users, to post on the issue.
The U.S. Senate is now considering the nomination of Governor Kathleen Sebelius for U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services. Sebelius is superbly qualified for the position. She has a strong record demonstrating that she understands the needs of women — including in health care, early education, and other critical areas. As head of HHS, Sebelius will have a major impact on the well-being of women and families, especially in light of her key role in the development and implementation of health care reform. Senate committees held hearings on her nomination last week, and a vote is expected soon.
The federal tax filing deadline is only a week away — and it's vital that families in your community have the information they need about the state and federal tax credits for which they may be eligible. Families may be able to receive thousands of dollars under the federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Earned Income Tax Credit — and, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, individuals and families may be eligible for a refundable First-Time Home Buyer Credit.
Many pharmacists are still refusing to fill valid prescriptions for contraception and sell emergency contraception over the counter. But with your help, we can make sure that every woman gets the health care she needs. We're working with state and federal advocates to establish policies protecting access to contraception, fight pharmacist refusal legislation, and educate the public about pharmacy refusals.
Here are some of the other recent happenings in our nation's capital:
President Obama recently signed an Executive Order creating a White House Council on Women and Girls, which is designed to provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls and ensure that all agencies consider the ways in which their policies affect women and families.
The Senate is considering the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to be Assistant Attorney General of the vitally important Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice — but the far right has been generating calls against her nomination. Urge your Senators to support Johnsen's nomination.
For members of Facebook.com, it's easy to keep up with the latest developments on the issues that affect women and families. When you become a Facebook "fan" of the National Women's Law Center, you'll receive regular updates on NWLC's work and up-to-the-minute information on our latest resources.
; The International
Space Station suffered a
problem with half of its
vital cooling system
Wednesday (Dec. 11),
resulting in a partial
power down of some
NASA officials say.
According to a N...