ACOG Helps Defeat the Blunt Amendment
In a 51 - 48 vote, the Senate killed an amendment by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) that would have allowed employers and insurers to opt out of any health care services required under the Affordable Care Act. ACOG worked closely with the Senate Democrats in opposition to this amendment to the Senate transportation bill.
ACOG Executive Vice President Hal C. Lawrence, MD spoke about the danger of the Blunt amendment to women’s health in a press conference held Wednesday led by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and joined by Senators Blumenthal, Shaheen, Feinstein, Lautenberg, Harkin, Boxer, Mikulski. Dr. Lawrence said:
"[ACOG] worked closely with Senator Murray and Senator Mikulski and other Senators here with us today to ensure that health reform would ensure all women in the US access to the same core set of essential benefits, including preventive and maternity care, regardless of what state she lives in or for whom she works.
"And thanks to the Senators here today, the Affordable Care Act does just that. Women across the Nation are guaranteed meaningful coverage for women’s maternity and preventive care, including contraceptive care.
The Blunt amendment would effectively turn these guarantees into options, much like it was before 2010. Optional coverage just isn't good enough for women’s health care."
A response to the Administration’s decision to require religiously affiliated institutions and employers to cover contraception, the Blunt amendment went much farther, providing a generous opt of for any individual employer who chose not to cover a service he or she felt was objectionable. Health care services called for under the ACA which would have been at risk under this amendment include prenatal and maternity care, STD care, blood transfusions, and childhood vaccines.
The Senators took the floor shortly after the press conference and pressed their colleagues to defeat the Blunt amendment. The vote was close, but critically important to women’s health. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has promised to bring up a version of the Blunt amendment soon.
Read Dr. Lawrence's full statement.