Happy New Year! Time to get advocating!
Posted by: Barbara Collura at January 11, 2012
Category: Federal and State legislation
January is always a time for people to reflect on the past year and make plans for the new year ahead. Expectations are high, goals are set, and the work begins. We have the same strategy here at RESOLVE – especially on the policy front. We are planning for a very busy year indeed in terms of federal and state legislation. Here is a primer on what to watch for and what to expect in 2012.
The infertility community will be hard at work on getting additional co-sponsors for the Family Act, which is now in the House of Representatives as well as the U.S. Senate. While it will be a difficult year for any type of legislation gaining traction in Congress, we believe we have an excellent chance of seeing this bill gain many more co-sponsors and getting passed. Watch for action on the extension of the many tax credits set to expire in December 2012, as the Adoption Tax Credit is one of those. We believe the Family Act so closely mirrors the Adoption Tax Credit that they could be passed (or extended) at the same time. The Adoption Tax Credit has received overwhelming bi-partisan support, and we believe it has a very good chance of receiving an extension. A key strategy in 2012 will be getting every fertility clinic in the U.S. to send letters of support for the Family Act to their Members of Congress.
The movement towards defining when life begins, or Personhood, will reach more states in 2012. There are two ways Personhood will happen – either through a ballot initiative, similar to what we experienced in Mississippi in November, or through legislation in the form of a bill at the state legislature. RESOLVE will again be very involved in fighting any attempt to limit access to infertility medical treatments, in whatever form that takes. Keep an eye on this Blog as we will dive deeper into the status of Personhood ballot initiatives and bills in a few weeks. We are hoping for some positive bills this year that we are looking forward to supporting, such as improvements to some of the state mandates and opening up gestational carrier arrangements in states with current restrictions. We are once again bracing for anti-family legislation at the state level and will be ready to fight wherever they may occur. RESOLVE will devote an upcoming Blog post to all of the key state legislation important to our community.
Essential Health Benefits
The Affordable Care Act called for the creation of an “Essential Health Benefits Plan” that the states will use in their newly formed health insurance exchanges, which will cover individual and small group plans. RESOLVE has been watching this development closely for two reasons: 1) to work to get infertility treatment listed as an essential health benefit; and 2) to insure that the creation of an essential health benefits plan does not harm any of the existing infertility state mandates. This is a complicated issue that RESOLVE will explain in an upcoming Blog, but suffice it to say this will be an important process to watch in 2012 for our community.
National Action Plan for Infertility
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be announcing a draft National Action Plan on Infertility this year, and the public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft plan. Once the Plan is finalized, this could serve as an important roadmap for the community in moving this public health issue into the mainstream. RESOLVE will be very active in the review of the draft Plan and will be ready to work with CDC and other stakeholders to see that the Plan is implemented.
We Need You!
Our agenda is very full in 2012, and we can only achieve our goal of keeping access to all family building options open and available to all who need it by working together; this means patients, families, physicians, attorneys, and other professionals must come together to support good legislation and fight bad legislation. We can’t sit on the sidelines and hope others show up to do the work. We must all be involved. If you want to make a difference, please contact RESOLVE. We would love to tell you the many ways we can use your time and talents in our advocacy efforts. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org. And keep reading this Blog – it’s the only place you will find the most accurate and comprehensive information regarding policy that impacts our community.
Barbara Collura is the Executive Director for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. She can be reached at email@example.com or 703.556.7172.