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HEALTH CARE: Two Years Into New Law, Murray Highlights Benefits for Women

Mar 20 2012

Murray: Because of this law, women are now in charge of their health careā€”not the insurance companies



(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor to highlight the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for women across the country.  Two years after the passage of the law, Murray reminded her colleagues of the importance of ensuring that women get the care they need, at a cost they can afford. She highlighted that under the law, health insurance companies can no longer deny women coverage due to pre-existing conditions, or charge higher premiums for women than for their male counterparts.  Senator Murray spoke out against Republican attempts to undo the gains that have been made with the health care reform law for women and for families and urged her colleagues to continue to stand up for women everywhere to ensure that progress is not reversed.  

Key excerpts from Murray’s speech:

“While we can never stop working to make improvements—we owe it to the women of America to make progress, and not allow the clock to be rolled back on their health care needs.”

 “I know some of my Republican colleagues are furiously working to undo all of the gains we’ve made in the health care reform law for women and families.  I am disappointed—but hardly surprised.  Republicans have been waging a war on women’s health since the moment they came into power.”

This law is a winner for women, for men, for children—and for our health care system overall.”

“Two years ago, health insurance companies could deny women care due to so-called pre-existing conditions— like pregnancy, or being a victim of domestic violence. Two years ago women were permitted to be legally discriminated against when it came to insurance premiums—and were often paying more for coverage than men. Two years ago women did not have access to the full range of recommended preventive care—like mammograms, contraception, and more.  Two years ago, the insurance companies had all the leverage. And too often, women were paying the price.”

“Because of this law, women will be treated fairly when it comes to health care costs: deductibles and other expenses will be capped so a health care crisis doesn’t cause a family to lose their home or their life savings and preventive care will be free so women never have to delay care because they can’t afford to see a doctor. Because of this law, women will have more options. They can use the health care exchanges to pick quality plans that work for them and their families, and if they change jobs or have to move—they will be able to keep their coverage.  Because of this law—maternity care is covered—and women won’t have to skip proper prenatal care because they can’t afford it.  Mr. President— because of this law—women are now in charge of their health care—not the insurance companies.”

The full text of Senator Murray’s speech follows:

“Mr. President, two years ago, health insurance companies could deny women care due to so-called pre-existing conditions— like pregnancy, or being a victim of domestic violence.

“Two years ago women were permitted to be legally discriminated against when it came to insurance premiums—and were often paying more for coverage than men.

“Two years ago women did not have access to the full range of recommended preventive care—like mammograms, contraception, and more.

“Two years ago, the insurance companies had all the leverage. And too often, women were paying the price. 

“Mr. President—that’s why I am so proud to come to the floor today, two years after we passed the Affordable Care Act, to highlight just how far we’ve come when it comes to making sure women across America get the care they need at a cost they can afford.

“Because of this law, women will be treated fairly when it comes to health care costs: deductibles and other expenses will be capped so a health care crisis doesn’t cause a family to lose their home or their life savings and preventive care will be free so women never have to delay care because they can’t afford to see a doctor.

“Because of this law, women will have more options. They can use the health care exchanges to pick quality plans that work for them and their families, and if they change jobs or have to move—they will be able to keep their coverage.

“Because of this law—maternity care is covered—and women won’t have to skip proper prenatal care because they can’t afford it.

“Mr. President— because of this law—women are now in charge of their health care—not the insurance companies.

“That’s why I feel very strongly that we can’t go back to the way things were.

“While we can never stop working to make improvements—we owe it to the women of America to make progress, and not allow the clock to be rolled back on their health care needs.

“Mr. President—I know some of my Republican colleagues are furiously working to undo all of the gains we’ve made in the health care reform law for women and families.

“I am disappointed—but hardly surprised.  Republicans have been waging a war on women’s health since the moment they came into power.

“After campaigning across the country on a platform of jobs and the economy, the first three bills they introduced in the House were each direct attacks on women’s health in America.

“The very first one, H.R. 1, would have totally eliminated Title X funding for family planning and teen pregnancy prevention. And it included an amendment that would have completely defunded Planned Parenthood and cut off support for the millions of women who count on it.

“Another one of their opening round of bills would have permanently codified the Hyde Amendment and the D.C. abortion ban—and the original version of their bill didn’t even include an exception for the health of the mother.

“And finally, they introduced a bill right away that would have rolled back every single one of the gains I just discussed in the Affordable Care Act.

“Mr. President, I know Republicans believe the health care reform law is a political winner for Democrats, so they feel the need to oppose it and try to repeal it.

“But the truth is, this law is a winner for women, for men, for children—and for our health care system overall.

“So I am proud to stand here with so many of my colleagues who are committed to making sure the benefits of this law don’t get taken away from the women of America.

“We will keep fighting attempts to take them away—and I am confident that we will win.

 “Thank you Mr. President. I yield the floor.”