Following the House's passage on Saturday by a vote of 220-215, the Senate cleared the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act to be sent to the White House today by a vote of 54-44. According to the Older Women's League (OWL), the Medicare Prescription Drug bill (H.R. 1) will cause millions to lose their employer-sponsored health insurance and many will face increases in premiums as they are forced into private demonstration projects and private insurance companies reap billions of dollars in tax cuts in subsidies.
A filibuster in the Senate this weekend, led by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), failed by a cloture vote of 70-29 yesterday. Immediately following the cloture vote, Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) made a point of order against the bill claiming it violated various provisions in the Fiscal 2004 Budget Resolution (H. Con. Res. 95), the Congressional Quarterly reports. Sen. Daschle's point of order failed by a vote of 61-39.
As women account for more than 70% of the elderly poor and comprise the majority of those who are on both Medicare and Medicaid, women will suffer the greatest impact of these proposed changes. The National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) has joined with OWL and other individual women's organizations, including the Feminist Majority and the National Women's Law Center, and consumer and labor organizations in opposition to this legislation. According to the National Women's Law Center, "this proposal is harmful to the poorest and sickest women who's out of pocket expenses would increase above what Medicaid currently allows and co-payments would dramatically increase further in future years."
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .