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Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I thank the dean of the women in this Senate, Senator Mikulski, for bringing us all together on the Senate floor, and I join with my great colleagues from California and North Carolina and other colleagues who will be joining us as well, to talk about the importance of health care reform for women.
Women are the majority of the population. We have the ability to benefit from this reform that holds insurance companies accountable and creates more opportunity for coverage. We will see a great benefit to come from all of this, and I want to speak to just one piece of it. We know the majority of people today--men and women, families--have insurance, and there are a multitude of bad insurance company practices that are occurring today stopping people from getting coverage because they have a preexisting condition.
By the way, we found out just last week, from an article in the Washington Post, that some insurance companies treat pregnancy, or the intention to adopt, as a reason to reject someone for a preexisting condition. I mean that is pretty shocking to me. In fact, the same report said that being pregnant or being an expectant father, with some companies, was grounds for automatic rejection--automatic rejection--when it comes to being able to get a health insurance policy.
So this reform is about making sure everyone benefits; that women who have insurance, as well as women who don't currently have access to health insurance, can see protections and changes that stop the discrimination and create better access to health care because that is what this is all about, being able to find affordable health care and health care that meets our needs. All women across the country certainly are desperately concerned about that. We have 62 million American women right now who are in their childbearing years, and I was quite shocked to learn that right now, according to the Women's Law Center, nearly 60 percent of the individual insurance plans that are out there in the marketplace--if you are not getting insurance through your employer, but you are going out yourself to find an insurance policy for you and for your family--nearly 60 percent don't provide any coverage for maternity care or even an option of supplemental insurance for an additional cost.
So for the women in these plans who are attempting to get insurance, no amount of money can buy the maternity care that they need. So this bill is about changing that and making sure the women of this country have the care they need.
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