Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Great News About the Health Care Legislation!

This just e-mailed to me from Childbirth Connection, another group that worked hard to get important items for women and babies included in this bill.

Dear Friend, On Sunday, March 21, the House of Representatives took a courageous and giant step toward a better health care system for America’s women, babies and families with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This legislation will make a significant difference in the lives of millions of women, babies and families by expanding access to health insurance, ending insurance industry practices that discriminate against women, and improving the quality and cost of health care.

Childbirth Connection worked hard over the last year to ensure that the special needs of women and babies were considered in health care reform. We are happy to report that our efforts resulted in provisions in the bill for measuring and reporting on the quality of adult health care covered by Medicaid. Because Medicaid pays for about 42% of births in the country, this provision offers important opportunities for using performance measurement to improve the quality and value of maternity care. Childbirth Connection is committed to ensuring that the new performance measurement program gives appropriate attention to childbearing women and newborns. We will work on implementation with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other stakeholders.

This accomplishment would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and organizations committed to significant improvements in maternity care access and quality. Special thanks to Representatives Elliot Engel and Lois Capps, as well as the staffs of the House Energy & Commerce and Senate Finance Committees for supporting these important quality improvement provisions. We also thank the many national organizations and countless individuals who advocated for these provisions.

Other provisions in the bill that will benefit women and babies include:

Health insurance coverage for women before, during and between pregnancies
Medicaid reimbursement for licensed caregivers offering services in licensed birth centers
Medicaid reimbursement of the birth center facility fee
100% reimbursement of Certified Nurse-Midwives’ services in Medicare Part B
Elimination of denial of insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions such as being pregnant, having had a cesarean section, or being a victim of domestic violence
Workplace protections for nursing mothers
Screening for postpartum depression
Prenatal and postpartum nurse home visits for low-income, first-time families and their children Coverage for a range of preventive services including screening for diabetes and heart disease.

This is all great news for women and families, but there’s still more to do. Please contact your senators (click on “Web Form”) and ask them to pass the reconciliation bill to further strengthen health care reform provisions.

With the President’s signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law today, please join with Childbirth Connection in celebrating the path-breaking provisions that will be carried out in the weeks, months and years ahead.
Best wishes,

Maureen Corry
Executive Director
Childbirth Connection

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