Legislative Committee

Dr. Thaddeus L. AndersonThaddeus L. Anderson, MD, District VI treasurer

The ACOG State Legislative Roundtable was held September 20–21 in Washington, DC. Topics for discussion included breast density legislation, midwifery, maternal mortality, reproductive health, and medical liability reform. Emerging issues of substance abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome, environmental health, and immunization opt-out legislation were also covered. Participants attended talks from experts on Affordable Care Act implementation, lobby days, and legislative campaigns.

Health insurance exchanges began to accept applicants in October, but not without challenges—some of which we’re still facing today. The following table lists the plans of each state in District VI for health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion.

State                   

Health Insurance Exchange

Medicaid Expansion

Illinois

State-federal partnership, may transition to state-run exchange

Yes

Iowa

State-federal partnership, may transition to state-run exchange

Yes

Minnesota

State-run exchange

Yes

Nebraska

Federal exchange

No

North Dakota

Federal exchange

Yes

South Dakota

Federal exchange

No

Wisconsin

Federal exchange

No

Restrictions on abortion services have been a major legislative push by conservative Republican legislators across the US. North Dakota passed legislation banning abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detectible, or at six weeks’ gestation. The law has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge, but legal battles continue. Maura P. Quinlan, MD, Illinois Section chair, has given legislative education talks at several Illinois residency programs. Her lectures warn about the legislative restrictions affecting women and reproductive rights. Read the section reports for more state and local legislative news.  

ACOG’s federal political action committee, Ob-GynPAC, is now making monies available for use for Ob-GynPAC members in state elections. Up to $50,000 each election cycle will be available for members, on request, to use in state elections, where allowed by state law. The OB-GynPAC Governing Committee will approve distributions on a first come-first served basis.

Also, please consider donating to Ob-GynPAC. The bipartisan PAC helps elect and re-elect members of Congress who support our specialty. During the 2011–12 election cycle, 85% of candidates the PAC supported won their House races, and 80% won their Senate races. (You will not be favored or disadvantaged by reason of the amount of your contribution or a decision not to contribute. Contributions from foreign nationals are not permitted.)

The Gellhaus Resident Advocacy Fellowship allows a senior ob-gyn resident to work in Washington, DC, for two to four weeks with the ACOG Government Relations and Outreach department. Expenses for travel, housing, and meals are covered by this fellowship. If you are interested or know someone who may be, contact Stacie Monroe at smonroe@acog.org for information. Tashera E. Perry, MD, District VI Junior Fellow vice chair, has been selected as a 2014 Gellhaus Resident Advocacy Fellow.   

My friend and fellow Iowan, Marygrace Elson, MD, will serve as the 2014 District VI McCain Fellow. Dr. Elson is a professor at the University of Iowa and a member of the Iowa Medical Society Board of Directors. She has been active in legislative advocacy at the state and national levels. She also will take over leadership of the District VI Legislative Committee. I would like to thank District VI members for their support during the last five years as I held this position.

 

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