It seems that the President is negotiating a fine line between being too involved in health reform and not involved enough. Yesterday he hosted five governors (Republicans and Democrats) who the administration considers possible allies in the fight for reform. By influencing senators and congresspeople through their governors, the President retains a kind of outsider position, which may be advantageous. Preventing a tax on employee benefits and ensuring the public plan option seem to be the two things most at risk.
It looks as if the Senate Finance Committee will be releasing their draft of the health reform bill right after the July 4th recess. The Senate HELP Committee and the Tri-Committee (Labor and Pensions, Ways and Means, and Health and Education) of the House will continue hearings and mark-up through next week. If things go smoothly, it is still possible there could be floor debates in September and a resulting bill on the desk of the President by mid-October. Things may not go so smoothly and we’ll have to wait a bit longer for revisions to be finished up. Stay tuned right here for the latest updates and what you can do to make sure your concerns are represented.
An article from the Washington Post about why reform is so important, and an overview by Time Magazine. Also, a word from Max Baucus (D-MT, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee). He’s saying what he’s said for…a long time. But are there answers? And finally, and organization pushing representatives in congress to actually read the bills. God forbid.
Raising Women’s Voices partner Cindy Pearson was intereviewed by Molly Ginty for Women’s E-News. Cindy is the executive director of the National Women’s Health Network in Washington, DC and is a fabulous lady. The article, from Jun 26th is on their website here. Check it out!
This is amazing. I could watch this for hours, probably.
Thanks to Sam, a friend of health care reform advocates all over the world!
The White House announced on Friday that the first White House advisor on Violence Against Women will be Lynn Rosenthal, an activist who has been working in anti-violence and empowerment advocacy for many years. Check it out:
“In this new position, Rosenthal will be a liaison to the domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy community; coordinate with the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women on implementation of Violence Against Women Act programs; coordinate with the Department of Health and Human Services on implementation of Family Violence Prevention Act services (including the National Domestic Violence Hotline); coordinate with the State Department and USAID on global domestic violence initiatives; and drive the development of new initiatives and policy aimed at combating domestic violence and sexual assault with advocacy groups and members of Congress.”
Read an article from Feministing, and a piece from the Family Violence Prevention Fund here. This appointment follows the Clinton-era 1994 Violence Against Women Act that was drafted by (then Senator) Joe Biden and by groups such as the National Organization for Women. It was last re-authorized by President George Bush in 2006 and will be up for another authorization in 2010.
With 4.8 million intimate partner assaults and rapes in this country per year, it is imperative that our government and our citizens get serious about preventing this. This issue is fresh in the minds of the public after the inexcusable violence against pop star Rihanna by her boyfriend, Chris Brown. Proof that intimate partner violence can, and does, happen to anyone.
President Barack Obama has scheduled another town hall-style meeting to take place on Wednesday in Annandale, Virginia. The event will focus on questions from citizens submitted via YouTube, and will most likely focus on the President’s message that not acting on health care reform is unacceptable:
“Ultimately, your engagement on this issue is just as important as that of our lawmakers. I’ve always believed that real change doesn’t come from Washington, it comes from the American people — and we won’t be able to achieve reform without you. So America, tell me what you want to know about health care reform and I’ll do my best to answer your questions. I look forward to hearing from you.”
Read the full article here, and Twitter questions with hashtag #WHHCQ.
Ceci Connolly commented yesterday about the movement of health care reform advocates toward a more direct criticism for politicians (especially Democrats) who seem to be in the way of progressive reform. Activists are asking for more dedication for those on the side of the public health option while criticizing politicians who are less than interested in that option. Issues like the trigger option and a co-op are (surprisingly) still in discussion among centrist Democrats and Republicans. Read the full article from the Washington Post about these issues (and others facing health care reform) here.
Stem cell researchers here in New York State are able to pay women with public funds for their eggs for research. The Empire State Stem Cell Board made the decision two weeks ago, which permits women to be paid up to $10,000 for eggs they donate. This decision comes with it a whole host of ethical and social questions – how much of a role will the payment play in the donation of eggs for women? When does this become coercion? Egg donation does have its risks – worried bioethicists and other opponents are concerned that poor women would be less likely to recognize these risks with the introduction of payment.
Though President Barack Obama has removed some restrictions to federally-funded stem cell research, there are still some restrictions in place. In addition, the issue has never lost its controversy and there are still avid opponents to the research, which requires the use of human embryos. New York State has committed hundreds of millions of dollars for stem cell research, and many researchers are excited about their new ability to pay women for eggs. Read the full New York Times article about this topic here.
A study in the Journal of Women’s Health found that women with depression or depression symptoms are much more likely to give birth preterm. This trend is much more pronounced in communities of color, with the risk for black women twice that of white women. You can read the abstract here, and the summary article from the National Partnership for Women and Families here. This is evidence that health disparities are alive and well in our health care system and is one of the reasons we need to continue to fight for the rights of women of color and other marginalized groups.
Slowing the spread of HIV among pregnant women has been cited as the priority of the US global AIDS coordinator, Eric Goosby. He made a few comments in an interview stating what he hopes for global AIDS awareness and reduction – stressing the roles of education and prevention. He also stated that he is committed to getting antiretrovirals to pregnant women who need them. In addition, Goosby is interested in getting other nations more involved in the effort. Read the article from the National Partnership for Women and Families here.