Saturday, May 13, 2006

HIMMA defeated!!

from the american counseling association...i really hope at least one of the ohio senators voted against it too, but i guess beggers cant be choosers

From: ACA Public Policy Listserv on behalf of Scott Barstow
Sent: Fri 5/12/2006 5:25 PM
Subject: ACA UPDATE: S. 1955 Stalls on Senate Floor

Thanks to loud and concerted grassroots opposition on the part of ACA members and others, S. 1955—the “Healthcare Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act,” or HIMMA—was stopped on the Senate floor this week. ACA joined a long list of national and state health care consumer, provider, disability, social service, human rights, labor, and other organizations in opposing S. 1955. In a procedural vote on May 11th to end debate on the bill, only 55 Senators voted “yes,” five votes fewer than the 60 votes needed. S. 1955 would have gutted states’ ability to establish minimum health insurance quality standards and benefits, including laws in 22 states supporting coverage of counselors’ services and laws in 39 states establishing minimum coverage standards for mental health services in general.

In addition to sending our recent e-mail alerts, ACA joined other groups in signing a letter to all Senators on May 8th urging opposition to the bill. As the letter stated:

“S. 1955 would take away the states’ power to regulate health insurance. The bill preempts benefit, service and provider laws that states have enacted to ensure that consumers have adequate health coverage. Coverage for cancer screenings and treatment, diabetes supplies and education, mental health, preventive care, rehabilitation, well-child care and immunizations, maternity care, and other important health care needs would be lost.”

The letter went on to point out that S. 1955 “would preempt stronger state laws that limit the ability of insurers to vary premiums based on health status, age, gender and geography. For many older, sicker Americans and those with complex health needs and disabilities, this would price them out of the health insurance market, undermining the stated purpose of the legislation.” By allowing health plans to effectively “cherry pick” the healthiest individuals, S. 1955 runs counter to the basic premise of insurance, which is to spread risk as broadly and inclusively as possible.

Among the many organizations signing on to the letter in addition to ACA were the American Psychological Association, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Disability Rights Network, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the National Mental Health Association. Several state insurance commissioners and attorneys general also came out against the legislation.

ACA sincerely thanks those counselors who took the time to contact their Senators to urge their opposition to the legislation. Your work helped make the difference! Unfortunately, similar legislation may be brought up again later this session. ACA will continue to follow this issue and take action as needed.

For more information, contact:
Scott Barstow
Director of Public Policy and Legislation
American Counseling Association
5999 Stevenson Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22304
ph: 800-347-6647 x234

2007 ACA Annual Convention
March 21-25, 2007

Detroit, Michigan

Song of the day: hammer and a nail- indigo girls

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