Senate Approves Women’s Screening Amendment In First Health Bill Vote
The Associated Press: The Senate voted 61-39 Thursday "to safeguard coverage of mammograms and preventive screening tests for women under any health care overhaul legislation." The revision, which was advanced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, "would allow the Health and Human Services secretary to require insurers to cover preventive health screenings free of charge" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 12/3).
"The Republican senators voting in favor were the two women from Maine, Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins, and Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. Among Democrats, Senators Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Ben Nelson of Nebraska opposed the proposal," according to New York Times' Prescriptions. "The vote on Ms. Mikulski's amendment broke an impasse between Democrats and Republicans over when to begin voting on amendments to the health care legislation. ... Under an agreement reached on Wednesday night, two additional votes are scheduled for Thursday and the amendment process finally seems to be shifting into gear. But tensions are running high at the Capitol, and further procedural disputes are inevitable." This vote "broke an impasse between Democrats and Republicans over when to begin voting on amendments to the health care legislation. ... Under an agreement reached on Wednesday night, two additional votes are scheduled for Thursday and the amendment process finally seems to be shifting into gear" (Herszenhorn and Pear, 12/3).
Reuters: Today's vote "follows last month's controversy over federal task force recommendations that women delay regular mammograms for breast cancer and from a doctor's group that women delay pap smears for cervical cancer. On a 59-41 vote, the Senate rejected a companion Republican amendment to ensure the task force recommendations could be ignored, which Democrats said was 'too tepid' and would not remove cost barriers to screenings" (Whitesides, 12/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.