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PathWays PA E-Alert: August 1, 2011

FEDERAL POLICY UPDATE
Debt ceiling deal likely
Today, both chambers of Congress are likely vote on a debt ceiling compromise – one that will lift the ceiling through the end of 2012. According to the plan overall there will be $2.4 trillion in budget cuts over the next decade and special commission will be created to find more cost-cutting measures. There are no revenue items in the deal.
It is unclear where exactly where these cuts will be made, however, for now, government programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are exempt from the budget cuts. Other programs like Women Infants and Children, Head Start, and LIHEAP are not immune.
For more information about this deal please click here. Also be sure to tell your legislator how you feel about this plan.

HHS Announces Preventative Services Coverage through ACA
Historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services at no additional cost were announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Developed by the independent Institute of Medicine, the new guidelines require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services.
Last summer, HHS released new insurance market rules under the Affordable Care Act requiring all new private health plans to cover several evidence-based preventive services like mammograms, colonoscopies, blood pressure checks, and childhood immunizations without charging a copayment, deductible or coinsurance. The Affordable Care Act also made recommended preventive services free for people on Medicare.
Today’s announcement builds on that progress by making sure women have access to a full
range of recommended preventive services without cost sharing, including:

  • well-woman visits;
  • screening for gestational diabetes;
  • human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 years and older;
  • sexually-transmitted infection counseling;
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling;
  • FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling;
  • breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; and
  • domestic violence screening and counseling.
New health plans will need to include these services without cost sharing for insurance policies with plan years beginning on or after August 1, 2012.
For more information on the HHS guidelines for expanding women’s preventive services, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/womensprevention08012011a.html. The guidelines can be found at:www.hrsa.gov/womensguidelines/.
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, please visit www.healthcare.gov.
To stay on top of the latest information on contraception as prevention and other issues impacting women’s health visit the Raising Women’s Voices new Women’s Preventive Health Coverage – Information Central.

Information and Events
ACTION NEEDED: Sign and Share the National, State and Community-based Organizational Letter Opposing Structural Changes and Budget Cuts to SNAP
FRAC and their partners in the NAHO (National Anti-Hunger Organizations) have written a sign-on letter strongly opposing structural changes (e.g., a block grant) and budget cuts to SNAP. With your help, they hope to get thousands of national, state and local groups to sign on to this letter.
Please sign your organization onto this letter and send it to other organizations on your e-mail list.

Click here (pdf) for the latest list of organizations that have signed on.

Congressional leaders need to hear a strong message from groups across the country that Congress should protect SNAP from budget cuts and changes to the structure of the program that would weaken its ability to help the poorest and hungriest people in the country.
To sign onto the letter, please click here.

National Workforce Week of Action highlights the important role of skilled labor in America
Join National Skills Coalition (NSC) and other national organizations in standing up for investments in America's workers and industries August 15-19 during the National Workforce Week of Action.
America's workforce is our country's most valuable resource, but right now there are more than 14 million people who can't find a job. However, a large percentage of job openings remain unfilled due to a shortage in workers who have the skills these positions require.
Federal employment and job training programs give Americans the education and training services they need to get back to work and help businesses find the workers they need. Now is not the time to reduce our investments in these vital programs.
Sign up today to participate in the National Workforce Week of Action and stand united with NSC and other national workforce organizations the week of August 15-19 in support of adequate funding for workforce education and training programs.
Members of Congress will be in their home districts the week of August 15. Call today to schedule a meeting with your Senators and Representative at their in-district offices to let them know where you stand on cuts to workforce training.
Now is not the time to reduce our investments in these vital programs. Let's work together to make sure Congress listens.

Learn more at www.nationalskillscoalition.org/WorkforceWeek or like them on Facebook to get the most up-to-date information on the week's activities.


Special Screening of The Whistleblower
Human trafficking is an issue impacting individuals around the world, including in Philadelphia. Come out to a special screening of a powerful film that takes a look at this issue on the international level. This screening will be followed by a panel discussion of local experts.
WHEN: Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm
WHERE: Landmark Ritz Five, 214 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
This event is free but all attendees must RSVP. You can do so by contacting Cate Galbally at 215-985-3322 or cgalbally@womensway.org.

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