The week ahead…

HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Monday, December 7, 2009

SENATE FLOOR DEBATE STARTS ON HEALTH REFORM
* Also: Giving Thanks for the Votes;
* COBRA Subsidy Comes to a Close for Some;
* Join Thursday’s Health Reform Candlelight Procession in San Francisco;
* Hang with Health Access & CPEHN at our Holiday Party: Wed, Dec 9th, in Oakland
…and other news for the week…

SENATORS TAKE FIRST FLOOR VOTE ON HEALTH REFORM: The U.S. Senate took a historic first floor vote on the health care reform bill, adopting a crucial amendment to help make health care more affordable for women. Last week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein gave the amendment needed momentum with her remarks about women unfairly having to bear extra cost burdens simply because of their reproductive roles. Speaking earlier today, Sen. Barbara Boxer rallied opposition to another amendment that is similar to the anti-abotion Stupak amendment. Emotion and optimism marked the first week of floor action on the legislation, with Sen. Harkin predicting swift passage: “This bill will pass the US Senate…we’ll have it on the President’s desk by early next year.” Follow us on Twitter for real-time updates on Senate debate.

THANKS-GIVING CONTINUES INTO DECEMBER: Health care reform advocates throughout California continue to express thanks to the members of California’s congressional delegation who’ve voted in support of health reform. Advocates are visiting the offices of each and every representative — as well as the regional offices of Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein — to express gratitude. For more information, contact Patrick Romano, who leads the Health Care for America Now! campaign in California, at promano@health-access.org.

HOLD A CANDLE TO HEALTH REFORM: Some of the same folks will meet up in the Bay Area on Thursday, December 10, for a candlelight procession through the streets of San Francisco. Hundreds of people are expected to march from Yerba Buena Gardens to Union Square in a procession honoring the 45,000 Americans who died this year waiting for health care reform. For more info, visit our Facebook page.

COBRA SUBSIDY’S END STINGS: This week, Families USA released a report in conjunction with Health Access California calling attention to the approaching end of the COBRA subsidy for those who lost their job-based insurance along with their employment in the recession. Read about it on our blog. The nine-month subsidy, arranged through the ARRA stimulus package, made a huge difference in how many families and individuals were able to keep insurance after job loss, but now those who picked it up immediately are seeing it expire. It is yet another sign of the importance of reform, which would prevent many families from losing coverage when they lose employment.

STILL TIME TO JOIN THE PARTY: There’s lots going on during December, but if you are in the Bay Area, take the time to join Health Access California and the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network for a holiday celebration. Health Access and CPEHN are hosting our annual holiday gathering in Oakland on Wednesday, December 9.

The location is Max’s of Oakland, 500 12th Street, at the Oakland City Center. (12th Street BART). Here’s a map. It’ll be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Please RSVP to Pam Flood at pflood@cpehn.org. Hope to see you there!

Any suggestions about the new update format, or questions about its content, should be directed to Cynthia Craft at Health Access, at ccraft@health-access.org.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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