What We're Reading - July 11
Good morning, everyone! Today the House is set to vote to repeal or defund parts or all of the Affordable Care Act for the 31st time. And in international news, the London Summit on Family Planning begins today. Here’s what we’re reading this morning…
As House Republicans vote once again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Matt Miller laments in the Washington Post that it wasn’t always this way. “GOP to the uninsured: Drop dead” – “The House is voting (again) to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday. Meanwhile, six Republican governors (so far) say they won’t go along with the law’s planned Medicaid expansion for 4 million uninsured people in their states, even though the feds would pick up nearly all the tab. See the pattern here? The Republican message to uninsured Americans in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling couldn’t be clearer: You’re on your own. The party may not have officially adopted the ‘let ’em die’ policy of right-wing hecklers at that CNN primary debate, when Ron Paul was asked what should be done when uninsured folks show up at the hospital. But as a practical matter, Republicans are in pretty unsavory territory. What other conclusion can we draw when Rick Perry, who presides over a state where fully one in four people lack health coverage, makes swaggering indifference to these Texans’ plight a point of sovereign pride? Fifty million uninsured Americans would be the immediate casualties of the GOP’s ‘let them eat the emergency room’ mentality. But all of us would be at risk. In America — alone among wealthy nations — everyone is a pink slip or job change or new illness away from finding they’ve lost coverage or are uninsurable.”
Republicans are working to find new ways to undercut the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. “GOP bill seeks to undercut Obama contraception mandate” – “A new Republican bill would remove the teeth from a contentious Obama administration health mandate by barring the federal government from penalizing employers that do not comply. The measure was written in response to the Affordable Care Act, which requires that most employers cover birth control without a co-pay for employees. Under the GOP bill, employers that object to birth control for religious reasons can refuse to cover it without facing financial penalties from the government. Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), an author of the new bill, argued that the mandate's current penalty for non-compliance would sink many religious groups. ‘If these taxes are levied and they are enforced, there will be no religious-affiliated institutions left in this country,’ he said at a press conference Tuesday… Sensenbrenner's bill would erase the taxes faced by employers who choose not to cover certain healthcare benefits ‘by reason of adherence to a religious belief or moral conviction.’"
Birth control plays an important role in women’s health. “Study Says Meeting Contraception Needs Could Cut Maternal Deaths by a Third” – “A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University shows that fulfilling unmet contraception demand by women in developing countries could reduce global maternal mortality by nearly a third, a potentially great improvement for one of the world’s most vulnerable populations. The study, published on Tuesday in The Lancet, a British science journal, comes ahead of a major family planning conference in London organized by the British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is an attempt to refocus attention on the issue… Birth control reduces health risks, the researchers said, by delaying first pregnancies, which carry higher risks in very young women; cutting down on unsafe abortions, which account for 13 percent of all maternal deaths in developing countries; and controlling dangers associated with pregnancies that are too closely spaced. The authors of the Lancet study, researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, found that the number of maternal deaths in those countries in 2008 would have nearly doubled without contraception. They acknowleged [sic], however, that maternal mortality record-keeping is weak in developing countries, a limitation of the study. They also found that an additional 29 percent of the deaths could have been prevented if women who wanted birth control would have received it, a concept called unmet need that is estimated using surveys of mothers in developing countries.”