Thursday, July 2, 2009

CNM/CM Medicare Reimbursement Legislation Included in House Health Reform Bill

Senate Medicare bill (S. 662) has 18 co-sponsors and counting!
by Laura Jenson, CNM, MS

So, the best thing about making that first phone call to my representative’s health legislative aide was finding out how easy it is. Sure, I had made quick phone calls in the past to legislators’ offices asking that they support this or that bill, my zip code is 60623, OK, thank you very much, bye! But I had never phoned a health legislative aide (or “health LA” if you want to sling around some jargon) with the intention of having an in-depth conversation about legislation until this winter . . .

When I first spoke with the health LA for my representative, Luis Gutierrez, about H.R. 1101, she wasn’t even totally sure what a midwife was. I honestly kind of stumbled through that conversation and then followed up with a couple of e-mails with letters of support for the legislation from various organizations like ACOG, the ANA, the National Perinatal Association, and the National Rural Health Association. I called her back a couple of times to check in, and then to my great surprise, Rep. Gutierrez’s name showed up a few weeks later on the co-sponsor list for the bill! (Love – you can get loads of information about a bill; the old standby, is good, too). It was such a great feeling to see that my little amount of work made a difference, and now I’ve got a new little hobby.

Seriously. Once I started poking around looking for resources, I found that most everything you need is online, and ACNM has put it all in one place. You can go here to find information about the Medicare equitable reimbursement issue that’s so important right now, especially because of the health care reform legislation that’s being drawn up. If you want to find out who your elected officials are, just go here. (I had to go to the USPS site first to find my four-digit zip code extension to figure out who my one representative was.) There are also loads of people on the ACNM Government Affairs Committee (or the “GAC”) who would love to help with any questions you have about this process—e-mail me at if you’re interested in finding out who’s in your region.

Why get involved? Because more phone calls means more legislators signing on as cosponsors, and more co-sponsors means our bill has a better chance of being attached to some larger health care legislation. The Medicare reimbursement issue is a top agenda item right now—let‘s make this happen! The legislation has already been included in the House health care reform package (go team!), and now it’s important that it be included in the Senate version. If you’ve read this far, how about taking a couple more minutes to give your Senators a call? Go here to learn more.

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