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Public Statements

Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act Of 2009

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Ms. STABENOW. Madam President, first, I thank Senator Mikulski for her leadership not only on this important amendment but on so many issues in health care, issues for women across this country. We are honored to call her dean for all of us as it relates to focusing on the issues that are so critical to women and their families.

I thank Senator Reid for making this a priority and making this the first amendment we are offering in this debate.

We all know that often women are the ones making health care decisions for their families as well as themselves. They are more likely to be the person making health insurance choices. Women of childbearing age pay on average 68 percent more for their health care than men do. We have so many instances in which insurance companies are standing between women and their doctors right now in making decisions--decisions not to cover preventive services, such as a mammogram screening or a cervical cancer screening, decisions to call pregnancy a preexisting condition so women cannot get health insurance, decisions not to cover maternity care so that women and their babies can get the care they need so that babies can be successful in life, both prenatal care and postnatal care.

Women of this country have a tremendous stake in health care reform. We pay more now, if we can find coverage at all, and there are too many ways in which insurance companies block women from getting the basic health services they need.

This amendment is critically important to make sure that women are able
to get preventive care services without a deductible and without copays. This amendment recognizes the unique health needs of women. It requires coverage of women's preventive services developed by women's health experts to meet the unique needs of women.

Why do we stress that? We stress that because for years we have struggled in so many areas to make sure that women's health needs were focused on and not just health in general. When we look at research through the National Institutes of Health and what it took to get to a place where research would be done for women on women's subjects or on female mice or rats rather than male subjects to make sure that the differences between men and women were considered in research, we have made important steps in that direction. Again, Senator Mikulski was leading the way as it relates to having a women's health research effort in our country.

This is one more step to make sure we are covering women's preventive services developed by women's health experts for the unique needs of women. That is what this is all about--making sure women have access to preventive services such as cervical cancer screenings, osteoporosis screenings, annual mammograms for women under 50, pregnancy and post partum screenings, domestic violence screenings, and annual checkups for women.

We know more women die of heart disease than actually any other disease. This is something I do not think is widely known. We have even heard that many physicians do not realize the extent to which heart disease is prevalent in women. All of us women have worked together on a women's heart bill and part of that is for screenings. Part of that is to make sure we are screening for heart disease and strokes, the No. 1 killer of women. This would make sure those screenings would be part of health care reform.

I could go on to list all the different prevention items, but I will simply say that when we are talking about women's health and we are talking about women's lives, this is an incredibly important amendment to adopt.

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