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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Women's Health Amendment Passes Senate (…and Open Thread)

A victory for women in Congress today, as the Senate passed an amendment put forth by Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), which would require insurance companies to offer various preventative services to women. The amendment passed in what (I suppose) technically counts as a bipartisan vote, with three Republicans voting alongside the Democratic majority.

From the New York Times:

Breaking a three-day stalemate, the Senate approved an amendment to its health care legislation that would require insurance companies to offer free mammograms and other preventive services to women.

The vote was 61 to 39, with three Republicans joining 56 Democrats and the two independents in favor.

The Republican senators voting in favor were the two women from Maine, Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins, and David Vitter of Louisiana. Among Democratic senators, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Ben Nelson of Nebraska opposed the proposal.

[. . .]

“The insurance companies take being a woman as a pre-existing condition,” Ms. Mikulski said. “We face so many issues and hurdles. We can’t get health care. We can’t get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions called a C-section.”

She added, “My amendment offers key preventive services, including an annual women’s health screening that would go to a comprehensive assessment, including the dangers to women in heart disease and in diabetes.”

New York Times

As a point of interest to Feingold fans who may be scratching their heads right now:

Mr. Feingold, in a statement, said he voted against Ms. Mikulski’s proposal because of the projected cost of $940 million over 10 years.

“I am disappointed that the Senate health care debate has gotten off on the wrong foot,” he said. “The first amendment voted on would add almost a billion dollars to our budget deficits over the next 10 years. We should make sure health plans cover women’s preventive care and screenings, but we should also find a way to pay for it, rather than adding that cost to the already mountainous public debt.”

But most Democrats do not share Mr. Feingold’s position. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected that the overall health care legislation would reduce future federal deficits by $130 billion over 10 years. Because the Democrats view the legislation as a single package, their position is that Ms. Mikulski’s amendment would simply mean a slightly lower reduction in future deficits over the 10-year period.

New York Times

Thoughts? Anyone not pleased with the amendment? How do you feel about Feingold’s decision and reasoning? Consider this an open thread.


  1. in both directions.  Party-line voting (on anything) never feels really comfortable, just the fact that a few people from either side chose to vote with the majority of the other party makes the whole process seem a little more legitimate to me.  Maybe all of the energy put into the bipartisanship effort really is worth it if it can leaven some of the cynicism about politics.

  2. DTOzone

    Not for nothing, but if this came out of Blanche Lincoln, Max Baucus, Evan Bayh or Bill Nelson’s mouths, the blogsphere would be bursting blood vessels screaming for primaries.

  3. creamer

    Or free sickle cell for African Americans?

    I glad the bill passed, I support it( I’m actually supprised it wasn’t already included). Well, maybe I don’t support it.

    I aknowledge that insurance companies have treated women from a profit and loss angle. I also aknowledge that women do not yet operate on equal footing with men in the workplace. But if you make it illegal to consider pre-existing conditions in insuring somone, does that not make this law unnessary?  

    And if preventive care is so important for women that we all pay for it, why not for the rest of us. My insurance pays for complete physicals once a year, I have to get colonoscopys every two years. Its recomended for men to get theese every 5 years after they turn 40 or 50.

    It would seem we need universal preventitive care to be fair.


  4. dtox

    A good friend of mine died this morning.

    He’d only just finished a postgraduate degree at Imperial in London and took a job back home. He’d gone to the mosque with his dad, who’s injured and in hospital.

    Bad timing…

    Bad time to go back, bad time to go pray, bad time to get in the way of bombs and bullets.

    I called my parents this afternoon, just to check up on them. They live a ten minute drive from that place. My 17 year old brother was complaining about how he never gets to do anything because the folks are scared of letting him go anywhere with his friends. I told him it’s hard to blame them. It’s all so different from ten years ago.

  5. fogiv

    On the ‘mental health’ front, Sarah Palin has identified herself as a Birther.  In an interview with conservative radio host Rusty Humphries, she was asked if she planned to “make the birth certificate an issue” if she runs in 2012:

    Sarah Palin declared on Thursday that the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth certificate is “rightfully” an issue with the American public, and that it is “fair game” for politicians to question Obama’s citizenship.

    OMG, WTF.

    “I think the public rightfully is still making it an issue,” Palin said. “I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t know if I would have to bother to make it an issue, because I think that members of the electorate still want answers.”


    I think it’s a fair question just like I think past associations and past voting records. All of that is fair game,” Palin responded, adding that “the McCain-Palin campaign didn’t do a good enough job in that area. We didn’t call out Obama and some of his associates on their records and what their beliefs were, and perhaps what their future plans were, and I don’t think that was fair to voters to not have done our job as candidates and a campaign to bring to light a lot of things that now we’re seeing manifest in the administration.”

    Yeah, the pallin’ around with terrorist stuff wasn’t taken far enough.  It’s done wonders for the national discourse.

    Palin later referenced “that weird conspiracy theory freaky thing that people talk about that Trig isn’t my real son, and a lot of people that went ‘Well, you need to produce his birth certificate, you need to prove that he’s your kid,’ which we have done, but yeah, so maybe we can reverse that, and use the same [inaudible] thinking on the other one.”

  6. specific treatments? Does this go against the recent guidelines put out about mammograms or does it follow those guidelines?

    I’m all in favor of reform of the more egregious policies of health insurance companies, like calling spousal abuse a pre-existing condition, but I’m a little uncomfortable on this one.

  7. HappyinVT

    In the opinion of Arlington [TN] Mayor Russell Wiseman, President Barack Obama’s speech on Tuesday night on the war in Afghanistan was deliberately timed to block the Christian message of the “Peanuts” television Christmas special.


    “Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch ‘The Charlie Brown Christmas Special’ and our muslim president is there, what a load…..try to convince me that wasn’t done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation (sic) about it….w…hen the answer should simply be ‘yes’….”


    In Wiseman’s extensive thread that attacked the president, his supporters and Muslims, he stated “…you obama people need to move to a muslim country…oh wait, that’s America….pitiful.”

    At another point he said, “you know, our forefathers had it written in the original Constitution that ONLY property owners could vote, if that has stayed in there, things would be different……..”

    Mayor Wiseman doesn’t deny the post, which can only be seen by his 1,600 Facebook friends, in his statement to The Commercial Appeal

    When contacted Thursday, Wiseman declined to comment about his Facebook posts.

    “It’s ridiculous for someone to send my Facebook post,” Wiseman said. “You guys are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.”

  8. HappyinVT

    Joni O’Neill was in her Mission Viejo flower shop late one night, watching the news, when she saw a story critical of President Barack Obama.

    She sat down right then and wrote him a letter.

    O’Neill, 54, is a Republican. She’d voted for the other guy. She told Obama that.

    “I was honest. I said these times are difficult and challenging and I could be really angry about it. But I don’t have time for that. I’m just going to move forward and that’s what I’m hoping the country would do.”

    She also wrote that she believed him when on election night “… you said you’d be my president too. I took that as an invitation to be positive.”

    “He wrote me back,” she said in a telephone interview Tuesday night as she prepared to leave for the nation’s Capital.

    The letter was hand written.

    “It’s priceless,” she said of the president’s response.

    In his reply, Obama thanked O’Neill for her kind words. One line particularly stood out.

    O’Neill had told the president she hoped he would keep smiling; that his smile reassured her when she watched him speak.

    He wrote back: “You know I will keep smiling, just for you.”

    “He made it really personal.”


    As if that wasn’t cool enough, six months after she and the president became pen pals, O’Neill heard from someone at the White House who invited her to this job summit, designed to explore ways to fix that part of the economy. The summit is Thursday, Dec. 3 in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, right next to the White House.


    O’Neill will probably tell administration officials that the best thing they can do is cut red tape and regulations to make it easier for small businesses to get going. And they should find a way to cajole banks into lending money to help companies expand and hire more people.


    “Although I’m a Republican and I didn’t vote for the president, he’s my president,” O’Neill says. “In my opinion he’s doing the best job he can. I think he is thoughtful and careful about the decisions he makes. I think he has a phenomenal team behind him who are trying to make all the right moves.”

  9. Michelle

    I’m pissed about Afghanistan.  I can’t even talk about it.

    I’m really pissed about healthcare.  Why do we need a special amendment for women’s health issues?  It’s as if my vagina makes me a special needs American, and it most certainly does not.  Congress does not need to get into the particulars of what my health concerns are anymore than a fucking health insurance company.  When I read that federal employees don’t have abortions covered, I dropped out of the debate altogether.  Now, I know that it is a moral issue, but I am not having a moral debate with my health insurance company or with Congress.  Right to life from conception to birth ONLY, but I guarantee that they will be seeking the federal death penalty for Major Hasan.  Why don’t they set up “abortion panels” so that some jackasses can decide if I am morally entitled to my abortion?  And I wonder how they would come out on this story?

    Let’s have some “erectile dysfunction panels” too so that we can morally determine if the old dude is going to fuck around on his wife before he gets medical treatment.

    I am NOT pissed at Obama, despite being pissed at those who are politically aligned with me who continue to wail and gnash their teeth over the man.  I feel like a fish out of water politically.

    And I’d like to see those state house dinner party crashers thrown in jail.

    That is all.

  10. HappyinVT

    Exclusive: Beck’s movie bombs in New York, Boston – and Washington, D.C.

    In New York, Beck sold 17 tickets. In Boston, another 17. And in Washington, D.C., the hotbed of political activism, his tearful film drew only 30, Raw Story has found.

    Glenn Beck’s new movie The Christmas Sweater – A Return To Redemption — released for a viewing Thursday night in hundreds of theaters across the country. While it performed better in the south and in rural, more conservative areas, his ability to draw viewers in major US markets was a bust.

    “The theater’s almost empty,” a representative at Regal Cinemas in Manhattan told Raw Story moments before it began.

    The flick features the firebrand Fox News host sharing with willing souls his most profound childhood memories, along with his philosophies on life, love and happiness.

    “It is the story of faith, tragedy, redemption and hope,” Beck says in the trailer. (Reporter’s caution: he cries in it.)


    The viewing in Lynnwood, WA — the closest one to Beck’s Mount Vernon hometown — sold out several hours before the show began. Ten miles south, 70 out of 415 seats had been snagged in Seattle, a better turnout than other cities.

    All attendees were charged $20 — a figure that Beck surely hoped was affordable for the “little guy,” who he often claims to stand up for.

    $20 for a movie, before the popcorn, candy, and soda.  No thanks.

  11. Shaun Appleby

    Gotta’ love them phones:

    Under a new system set up by Sprint, law enforcement agencies have gotten GPS data from the company about its wireless customers 8 million times in about a year, raising a host of questions about consumer privacy, transparency, and oversight of how police obtain location data.

    Justin Elliott – Police Tapped Sprint Customer GPS Data 8 Million Times In A Year TPM 3 Dec 09

    Say what?  Eight million times a year?  But it gets better, much better.  This is a revenue stream for the provider, they are selling the privacy of their own customers for profit and are unwilling to reveal for how much.  Watch this space…

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