After much debate for the past three days, the Senate has finally voted yes for a healthcare bill amendment that would require insurance companies to offer healthcare services for women (such as mammograms) for free.
The New York Times reports that the vote was 61 to 39. 3 Republican senators voted in favor of the amendment.
Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD, Dem.) introduced this healthcare bill amendment. She claims that insurance companies treat services for women as treatment for pre-existing conditions. The New York Times quotes her as saying, "The insurance companies take being a woman as a pre-existing condition. We face so many issues and hurdles. We can't get health care. We can't get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions called a C-section."
The amendment is intended to improve access to preventative care for women such as access to screening for diseases such as breast cancer and cervical cancer.
Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD, Dem.) also said: "My amendment offers key preventive services, including an annual women's health screening that would go to a comprehensive assessment, including the dangers to women in heart disease and in diabetes."
In the meantime, Russ Feingold (WI, Dem.) was one of the few Democrats who voted against the amendment. He is quoted as saying: "The first amendment voted on would add almost a billion dollars to our budget deficits over the next 10 years. We should make sure health plans cover women's preventive care and screenings, but we should also find a way to pay for it, rather than adding that cost to the already mountainous public debt."
There are approximately 15 million unemployed Americans and unemployment hit 9.8% back in September 2009. It reached 10.2% in November 2009.
We recently wrote about how these unemployed Americans will soon lose their insurance as the COBRA subsidy in The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will soon be gone. This will mean that millions of Americans, including women, will lose their health insurance and access to basic health services.
With scary situations like this, it is nice to see the Senate address issues that affect the daily lives of all Americans.