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5 Reasons Not to Let Obamacare Opponents Turn Back the Clock

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: March 23, 2015 at 01:24 pm

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has reached a major milestone. It’s been five years since President Obama signed the landmark law to end discriminatory insurance practices and provide more options for women to get affordable health coverage. Despite over 50 votes to repeal, defund or dismantle the ACA—and several election cycles—the ACA survived its first 5 years, mostly intact. During those years, we’ve made remarkable gains.

Here’s a quick recap of five great things the Affordable Care Act does for women:

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"The People's Budget" Lives Up to Its Name

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: March 23, 2015 at 09:53 am

I’ve been writing quite a bit about the budgets from the House and Senate Budget Committees this week, and it’s all rather discouraging—especially since proposals that would have devastating consequences for low-income women and families are couched in misleading language about “expand[ing] opportunity” and “building an economy that works for all Americans.” So today I’m happy to write about the budget plan introduced by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called “The People’s Budget.” Its sponsors say the plan “drives a full economic recovery by creating high-quality jobs and reducing family expenses,” and “creates fair tax rates for millionaires and provides needed relief to low- and middle-income families.” And guess what? It actually does!

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Happy Fifth Birthday, ACA!

Posted by Stephanie Glover, Health Policy Fellow | Posted on: March 23, 2015 at 09:40 am

Can you believe it? The ACA is already five years old. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the law’s passage. Today, we can celebrate the law’s continued success.

It’s clear the law is working. Because of the ACA, women are protected from discriminatory health insurance practices, health coverage is more affordable and easier to obtain, and women have better access to many of the health services they need.

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Lawmakers Pass Bill that Obstructs Women Workers’ Ability to Form Unions

Posted by Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, Fellow | Posted on: March 20, 2015 at 03:10 pm

Yesterday, on a straight party line vote, the House passed S.J. Res. 8, a joint resolution that bars the National Labor Relations Board’s new election rules from taking effect.  The NLRB rules would update and streamline the election process and allow workers to vote on union representation in a fair and timely manner.    

The NLRB rules are particularly important because the benefits of union membership are especially pronounced for women.  Female union members earn more than their non-union counterparts do, and the gender wage gap is smaller among union workers than it is among non-union workers.  That’s why after the Senate voted to overturn the NLRB rule by a narrow margin of 53-46, the National Women’s Law Center sent a letter to House lawmakers urging them to vote against the bill.

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A Closer Look at Re-Branding Budget Proposals: “Flexibility” For SNAP

Posted by Agata Pelka, Fellow | Posted on: March 20, 2015 at 01:31 pm

While we’ve already pointed out that the budget resolution released this week by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) claims to address the plight of struggling American families, but its proposals would almost certainly increase poverty and inequality—I wanted to take a closer look at its proposal for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). SNAP provides low-income families with access to nutritious food; it is one of the most reliable supports for families during tough economic times and one of the most effective programs in alleviating poverty.  SNAP served 46.5 million people in 22.7 million households on average each month in FY 2014. 

The Price budget converts SNAP to a “State Flexibility Fund,” which it claims would give “state governments…the power to administer the program in ways that best fit the needs of their communities with greater incentives to achieve better results.” This is a round-about way of announcing that the budget would cut funding for the program and get rid of the feature of the program that guarantees that all eligible people can receive the food assistance they need, when they need it—the very feature that currently allows SNAP to be flexible and increase funding automatically to adjust to demand.

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"Make Them Whole:" The Fight to End Sexual Assault on Campus

Posted by Mia Jacobs, Program Assistant | Posted on: March 19, 2015 at 04:33 pm

I'll never forget the first time a friend in college told me she had been sexually assaulted. The story was so familiar: at a fraternity party, she was pulled away by a friend of a friend. He led her upstairs, pinned her down. She tried to push him off, told him to stop, but she couldn't and he wouldn't. He raped her. I had heard such stories countless times, but nothing could have prepared me for the person I saw when my dear friend came out to me as a survivor: someone who had come to college hopeful and optimistic, but had been broken by this epidemic that ravages a nearly incomprehensible percentage of students today. 

It was not the second week of freshman year when my friends and I initiated the practice of calling each other at the end of a night out "just to make sure you got home ok" (a practice we continue, terrifyingly, to this day even years out of school). I learned to walk home with my keys clenched between my knuckles. To locate the blue lights on campus. To save the university police number to my phone. We were all, as a different friend who had also been raped during her college years told me, waiting for the inevitable. "I always knew it would happen to me. I was just waiting for my turn," she confessed. 

Today, nearly 1 in 5 women is raped on college campus. 13% of these rapes and 2% of assaults are reported to the university or police. Far too few result in serious consequences for the assailant, or even in disciplinary hearings.  

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House and Senate Budgets Threaten Women’s Health

Posted by Stephanie Glover, Health Policy Fellow | Posted on: March 19, 2015 at 03:04 pm

Earlier this week, the House released a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY2016) which would leave millions of women and their families without the financial security of high quality health insurance, unable to access the health care services they need, and facing dramatic increases in their healthcare costs. To learn more about the details of House budget proposal, our analysis is available here

Late yesterday, the Senate released their counterpart [PDF] to the House budget. The strategy is the same: repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicare and Medicaid. The results would be the same, too: millions of women left without access to affordable health coverage and the care they need.

Specifically, the Senate budget proposes:

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Another Day, Another Disastrous Budget: Senator Enzi’s Proposal Also Fails Women and Their Families

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: March 19, 2015 at 01:53 pm

Budget season is now in full swing on Capitol Hill. Hot on the heels of Rep. Price’s House budget resolution, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) released his own budget plan yesterday afternoon. Sen. Enzi’s proposal differs from Rep. Price’s plan in a few respects, such as defense spending, and it is even sketchier on the details—but it is clear that both budgets share an appalling disregard for the needs of low-income Americans—and a commitment to protecting tax breaks for wealthy Americans and corporations. Like the Price budget, the Enzi budget would:

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