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Quote of the Week-Senate Vote on Mammograms and Other Preventative Care for Women December 4, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Quote of the Week, Women.
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Today, the Senate voted on two health care amendments. One was the Mikulski Amendment, named for the veteran, Democrat, four term Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”false” link=”term=senator+mikulski&iid=5394370″ src=”0/0/f/f/Senators_Dodd_Harkin_54f2.jpg?adImageId=8018595&imageId=5394370″ width=”234″ height=”335″ /]

The other was the Murkowski Amendment, named for the Republican Senator from Alaska Lisa Murkowski. Now, there are only 100 Senators and not very many of them are women. 17 in 2009, the highest number so far. Some of the Senators apparently haven’t learned all the names in their class yet.

There is an official press release on Senator’s Mikulski’s website and a number of fine quotes. This one wasn’t listed in the text. Due to the number of (mostly) male Senators who had trouble keeping the names straight, Senator Mikulski decided to give a spelling lesson on the floor.

Don’t they have a seating chart with photos? Don’t they know the new kids yet? Murkowski-2003, Mikulski 1986….

Here is what Mikulski said about her winning (61-39) amendment today:

“Without this amendment, there would be no guarantee that women under 50 would be covered for mammograms, no guarantee of an annual women’s health exam that would include screenings for heart disease, and no guarantee that women would have access to this preventive care at no cost,” Senator Mikulski said. “Insurance companies have used every trick in the book to deny coverage to women. This amendment makes sure that the insurance companies must cover the basic preventive care that women need at no cost.” (emphasis added)

Senator Murkowski’s amendment covered much the same ground, but focused on the panel that issued the poorly received updated mammogram advice last month (see the post called Better Read than Dead):

“the Secretary shall not use any recommendation made by the United States Preventive Services Task Force to deny coverage of an item or service by a group…”

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=senator+murkowski&iid=2437419″ src=”0/4/f/1/Alaska_Senator_Ted_60ca.jpg?adImageId=8018611&imageId=2437419″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]

Senator Murkowski and other Republicans wanted to highlight that no government bureaucrat should get between a woman and her doctor. Senator Mikulski’s amendment specifically stated that a woman’s doctor:

[would]…determine whether mammograms are medically necessary and would require insurance companies to cover the procedure if needed.

The R’s didn’t believe this, but their amendment lost 59-41. The bill is far from final yet, and I urge readers to keep a vigilant eye and ear on the floor debate, especially if you want to keep this amendment in the bill (it is not in the House bill).

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