Good morning. I am Debra Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Every day I hear from women across this country who are struggling in a health care system fraught with delays, discrimination and denials of care.
Some are unable to afford coverage. Some are denied coverage because of their age. Some are paying more for their health insurance simply because they are women. Many are struggling to navigate a fragmented, uncoordinated system as they care for an aging spouse or parent.
The status quo is unacceptable, and it’s getting worse.
Fixing our broken health care system is one of the most urgent imperatives of our time. Women and their families need comprehensive health reform, now more than ever.
Real reform will end discriminatory insurance practices like gender and health status rating. It will prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions, or capping coverage when we need it most. It will ensure that women get the prenatal, maternity and preventive care, including mammograms, they need.
Real reform will expand coverage to 31 million more people nationwide and keep premiums and co-pays affordable.
Real reform will put us on track to contain costs and get more for our health care dollars.
Real reform will reduce disparities, and lay the groundwork to improve the quality and coordination of our care.
Real reform will help the family caregivers — most of whom are women — who struggle to find services, coordinate care, catch medication errors, and avoid unnecessary or duplicative tests for their loved ones.
And real reform should ensure that women have access to the full range of reproductive health services they need. We are asking Congress to pass health reform now — and then take the necessary steps to reverse its anti-choice provisions.
We are here today to ask Congress to pass real reform — and to say ‘no’ to the cynics, alarmists and liars who want to defeat this bill. Women and their families are counting on lawmakers to pass reform. Let’s get this done, and get it done right. Thank you.