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Friday
Sep142018

New Black Women’s Health Policy Agenda!

Black Women’s Health Policy Agenda to be released today

The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) is releasing Black Women Vote: The 2018 National Health Policy Agenda today at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) Annual Legislative Conference. The agenda includes policy positions and recommendations, as well as a feature that will be especially useful during this fall’s election season: a two-page, fill-in report card for voters to assess candidates’ policy positions on key health issues related to Black women.

“We are excited to release this first-of-its-kind policy agenda, which offers our nation a framework for addressing health inequities for Black women and girls," said Linda Goler Blount, President and CEO of BWHI. "We want to provide voters with a way to assess candidates for office at all levels on issues that are important to Black women, such as ensuring access to quality health care and protecting an individual’s right to make personal decisions about reproductive health.”

BWHI, which is one of the three national Raising Women’s Voices coordinating organizations, produced the agenda with support from Planned Parenthood, In Our Own Voice, the Coalition of 100 Black Women, U.S. Senator Doug Jones and U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly.  The agenda will be unveiled at Rep. Kelly’s panel, “CBCF Health Braintrust: Truth and Reconciliation in Health,” and Rep. Danny K. Davis’ CBCF-ALC Community Health Centers’ panel entitled "Breaking Down Barriers and Closing the Health Care Gap for Black Women."

The agenda includes in-depth policy positions and recommendations under four main pillars: Access to Quality and Affordable Healthcare, Equitable Responses to Public Health Emergencies, Sufficient Diversity in Clinical Research, and Increased Funding to Support HBCUs (historically-black colleges and universities). The first pillar asserts that Black women’s health outcomes depend on the accessibility, availability and affordability of quality health care. Access to quality, affordable care will allow health care providers to detect and treat health issues more effectively in Black women, which can potentially lead to a reduction and, hopefully, elimination of health disparities impacting Black women.

BWHI seeks to generate and leverage evidence that strongly supports the prioritization of the following policy and community-level issues for Black women and girls: the preservation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including meaningful and affordable insurance coverage; strengthening of Medicaid and protection of Medicare; patient access to affordable prescriptions; access to high quality maternal health resources; reproductive health, rights and justice (Title X, access to affordable contraception, access to safe, legal abortion, comprehensive sex education, access to care for endometriosis and uterine fibroids); access to cancer prevention, screening and treatment services (for breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and cervical cancer); improved cardiovascular health; and education and advocacy for preventive and diagnostic resources (for diabetes, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell anemia and mental health).

You can download Black Women Vote: The 2018 National Health Policy Agenda for free on the Imperative’s website, bwhi.org, starting today. Any questions and comments on the agenda should be directed to the BWHI Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, Tammy Boyd (tboyd@bwhi.org).
 
What’s the latest on the SCOTUS nomination?
 
On Thursday, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously blocked Democratic efforts to access documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that the White House has kept hidden. Even though Kavanaugh has signaled that he would protect the president from investigation, two of Donald Trump’s most vocal Republican critics, Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Ben Sasse (R-NE), joined the party-line vote in committee.
 
Meanwhile, the Senate’s lone Republicans who profess to be supportive of abortion rights -- Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) -- have indicated they are likely to support the nomination, claiming that Kavanaugh won’t be the deciding SCOTUS vote to gut reproductive rights. Several Senate Democratic conservatives -- including Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) -- have been vocal about their support of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but they have thus far refused to say how they will vote on Kavanaugh, despite his clear hostility to the ACA.
 
The Senate Judiciary committee will vote on Kavanaugh next Thursday morning, September 20, teeing up a vote by the full Senate during the week of September 24. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, he will join the Court before its new session begins October 1. 
 
On Monday, September 17, disabled women from across the country will come together to fight for the right to control their own bodies, live in their own homes and the keep their health care. Non-disabled allies are welcome to join as supporters. The group will be using the hashtags #SaveRoe #HomesNotInstitutions #DisabledWomenResist #CancelKavanaugh. On Thursday, the Save SCOTUS coalition will be lining the halls outside of the Judiciary Committee hearing room to demand senators #StopKavanaugh. (Please note NO signs are allowed inside the building.)
 
And, of course, it’s absolutely critical to keep up a drumbeat of calls in senators’ offices. You can reach Senators by calling 202-224-3121.
 
Renewed GOP threats to repeal the ACA!
 
Republicans have made clear that if they retain control of Congress after the mid-term elections, they will make another attempt to repeal the ACA and gut Medicaid.This week, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise told the Fox Business Network, "We’ve got to hold the House, but if we get more Senate seats, which I think we will, we’ve got to go back to health care. Obamacare’s only getting worse. … And [we’ll] transform Medicaid, which is the most failed part of health care."
 
Scalise, you may recall, was seriously wounded by a gunman last year and recovered with the help of his government-funded health care through the ACA. In his home state of Louisiana, 473,900 people gained coverage through Medicaid expansion, driving down the state’s uninsured rate from one out of every four people to one of out of nine.
 
Vice President Mike Pence told a campaign rally in August that, “We made an effort to fully repeal and replace Obamacare. And we’ll continue. With [Republicans in the Senate], we’ll go back to that.” And Axios quoted a “senior GOP aide” as saying Republicans won’t describe their next attack on health care as “a cutting Medicaid exercise.” Rather, he argued, describe it as “a 'screw the blue states' exercise and block grant to states.”  Two Republican Senate candidates running against ACA supporters are attorneys general pushing the court to revoke the ACA’s protections for preexisting conditions.
 
The Protect Our Care Coalition is launching a nationwide bus tour this fall to hold repeal-and-sabotage Republicans accountable. Kicking off in Portland, Maine, on September 24, the bus (“Care Force One”) will make 48 stops across 23 states, covering a total of 11,303 miles. The bus tour schedule is available online, along with ways to get involved. Check it out and meet the bus when it comes to your state!

 

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