Amy Klobuchar is one of several female Democratic senators demanding
that health insurance disparities that impact women be eliminated as
part of the health reform packages being debated in Congress. For the
past two weeks, the senators have been ensuring the issues unique to
women don’t get last in the vigorous debate.
Klobuchar recounted her own experiences with the health care industry on the Senate floor last week.
Let me tell my colleagues how I got interested in this
issue. When my daughter was born, she was very sick. She couldn’t
swallow. She was in intensive care. They thought she had a tumor. It
was a horrendous moment for our family. I was up all night in labor, up
all day trying to figure out what was wrong with her, and they
literally kicked me out of the hospital — my husband wheeled me out in
a wheelchair after 24 hours — because at that point in our country’s
history, they had a rule; it was called driveby births. When a mom gave
birth, she had to get kicked out of the hospital in 24 hours.
In a press conference, Klobuchar talked about how that experience drove her to get the law changed.
Klobuchar also said she was pleased that domestic abuse was being addressed by Congress.
“In nine states and the District of Columbia, women who are victims
of domestic abuse, who have been victims of domestic abuse can be
denied health care coverage because domestic abuse can be considered a
preexisting condition,” she said. “That’s why I’m so glad one of the
major, major proposals in this reform is to do something about
Seven other female senators are working to make the health reform
package inclusive of women: Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash; Kirsten
Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Barbara Boxer D-Calif.;
Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Mary Landrieu, D-La.; and Senator Kay Hagan,
The senators say one of the most important issues facing women’s
access to health care is that women pay more in premiums but get less
health care for the added cost. Things like pregnancy and domestic
abuse are sometimes excluded as preexisting conditions.
Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, praised Klobuchar’s efforts.
“The health care debate continues to rage in Washington, and
amendments limiting women’s access to reproductive health care are
expected,” the group said on Friday. “Senator Klobuchar made it clear
last week that women cannot be worse off after health care reform than
they are today. Health care reform must improve our lives, not take
away the rights we have fought so hard to win.”