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Saturday, January 23, 2010

American College of Nurse-Midwives: Legislative Update

Health Care Reform Update

The election in Massachusetts on Tuesday, January 19th, to fill the seat Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) held for several decades, has taken the wind out of health care reform in Congress for the moment.  The victory of Senator-Elect Scott Brown (R-MA), a Republican who ran on a platform sharply critical of the current federal health care reform legislation, is impacting movement of health reform legislation since no Republicans have been willing to support the legislation as it stands and Democrats in the Senate no longer have sufficient votes to pass a bill. 

Legislators on Capitol Hill will need more than a few days to get over the shock of the election outcome, which has stalled efforts to reform the nation's health care system.  At this point, ACNM is being told by members of Congress and their staffs that the House will not take up the Senate-passed version of health reform, which would have been the most direct route to a final bill for President Obama to sign into law.  The path forward is not clear as of today, but will likely include a modified bill that is scaled down from what we have seen passed in the House and Senate.

ACNM continues to advocate for meaningful reform that addresses a woman's access to essential primary care and maternity services.  In the coming days and weeks, ACNM will ask you to contact your members of Congress in relation to health care reform as the way forward becomes clearer.  We want to make certain that the gains made for women and midwives in both the House and Senate bills are not lost in a modified health reform bill.  ACNM will keep you up to date on major developments regarding this legislation. 

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