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PA Budget Stalemate Takes Toll On Child Care, But Cuts Averted

Posted by Rio Romero, Program Assistant | Posted on: October 23, 2009 at 08:03 pm

Rio Romero, Program Assistant,
National Women's Law Center

Across the country, families needing child care are feeling the crunch as states’ budgets tighten, resulting in less availability and affordability of child care—an essential support in today’s economy. A 101-day budget standoff in Pennsylvania took a heavy toll on several social services, including child care providers and the families who rely on their services. Families and providers were able to breathe a slight sign of relief when the statemate was finally resolved, with child care funding largely protected. 

Between July 1 and October 9, as the budget impasse continued, Pennsylvania simply stopped providing payments for child care subsidies. Without state funds, some Child Care Information State (CCIS) agencies distributing subsidies had to secure lines of credit or dip into their reserves in order to help pay providers. Child care centers, as one provider put it, “limped along” as some programs—which already have fragile finances—were forced to close operations, turned away families needing care, or took out loans to pay personnel and extra expenses. A survey conducted in August further examining the impact of the budget crisis found that of the providers surveyed, nearly one-third had shut down their program, 12,176 children had lost child care, and 3,604 child care staff had been laid off statewide. In addition, some child care employees earning college credit and working to attain a higher education degree were unable to register for fall classes—setting their education plans off-course. 

Just how long exactly does 101 days feel to low-income parents working to provide for their family or attending school, only to find out that their child’s center will no longer be offering services, or that the center in which they want to enroll their child cannot accept any new students? As a former teacher’s aide at a child care center, I was able to see the joy and relief of parents—including my best friend, a twenty year-old nursing student at the time and a single mother—who were finally able to enroll their child into the program after a long wait-list or search. There was no hesitance, as I asked my best friend what would have happened without child care for her daughter. “It would have been added stress on top of everything else. It would have left me no choice but to have dropped out of college.”

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Speaking Out: Why Being a Woman Is Not a Pre-Existing Condition

Posted by Robin Reed, Director of Online Communications | Posted on: October 23, 2009 at 03:28 pm

by Robin Reed, Online Outreach Manager, 
National Women's Law Center   

All week, individuals and groups across the country have been speaking out about why being a woman is not a pre-existing condition.

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Thousands Are Losing Unemployment Benefits Every Day the Senate Delays

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: October 22, 2009 at 09:08 pm

by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security, 
and Valerie Norton, Public Policy Fellow, 
National Women's Law Center 

The stock market may be up, but the labor market is still in deep trouble – and hundreds of thousands of women and men whose unemployment benefits are running out and still cannot find jobs are feeling desperate. 

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Rape Is Not a Pre-Existing Condition

Posted by | Posted on: October 22, 2009 at 07:18 pm

by Chris Turner

Seven years ago, I was drugged and raped while on a business trip. I'm lucky to be alive.

I'm also a health insurance agent. And when I needed new insurance, I knew how hard it would be to get coverage after I'd been treated for my assault. I'd needed counseling and preventative anti-HIV medications for my survival. The insurance companies didn't care what I'd needed. To them, being treated for rape qualified as a "pre-existing condition."

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Gender Rating in Health Insurance: It's Not Just an Individual Market Problem

Posted by Brigette Courtot, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: October 22, 2009 at 04:18 pm

by Brigette Courtot, Policy Analyst, 
National Women's Law Center 

A home health care agency. A day care center. A nonprofit community-based organization. A dentist’s office. 

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Women & Health Reform: The Latest Data

Posted by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights | Posted on: October 20, 2009 at 07:14 pm

By Judy Waxman,Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights,
National Women's Law Center  

This morning, we released a new report, Still Nowhere to Turn: Insurance Companies Treat Women Like a Pre-Existing Condition, uncovering the latest data on the disparities women face in health care coverage. Some of our findings included:

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Insurance Company: Rape Survivor? Nope, We Won't Take Her

Posted by Amanda Stone, Fellow | Posted on: October 20, 2009 at 06:26 pm

by Amanda Stone, Volunteer, 
National Women's Law Center 

“Nope, we won’t take her.” This is what insurance companies in Florida said when asked whether they would provide insurance coverage to a hypothetical applicant who had survived rape. Let’s back up a few steps. First, who was asking the question? Second, why was the applicant’s history posed as a hypothetical? Third, what can we do to change this dire situation?

Chris Turner, a health insurance agent from Tampa Florida, and a rape survivor, was the person asking the question. Chris spoke of her survival story at the National Women’s Law Center launch of the “Being A Woman Is Not A Pre-Existing Condition” campaign early this morning. In November 2002, she was drugged and raped while on a business trip. She sought medical help from her physician, who put her on preventative anti-HIV medication, since there was no way of knowing whether the person who raped her used a condom. Following her assault, Chris was afraid to leave her house for some time. About a month after the assault, Chris gathered the courage to seek counseling to deal with her fears-counseling which continued for about a year. She took the steps she needed to take care of herself, and the steps she now encourages other rape survivors to take as a volunteer at a Florida organization called SOAR-Speaking Out About Rape. As a volunteer, she warns rape survivors about a harm which she faced-she tells them, “if you lose your insurance, you might not be able to get it back.” This is exactly what happened to Chris.

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