New Year, New Fight
Posted by: Barbara Collura at January 30, 2017
Category: Federal and State legislation
New year - new elected officials! That means there are a lot of new Members of Congress, new state lawmakers and their staff that have not been introduced to our issues, yet. Now is the time to think about how you’ll communicate issues important to you and that impact your ability to start a family.
Whether you’re a long time RESOLVE advocate or have been recently inspired to take action, we want you to understand that the key issue that we fight for year in and year out is ACCESS. What does that mean? Well, it means stopping legislation that restricts access to any family building option. And it means working to create and support legislation that opens access to all family building options. We hear every day how lack of access, whether it’s financial or availability is the number one reason so many have trouble finding a resolution.
So what policies impact access?
The Adoption Tax Credit
The Adoption Tax Credit (ATC) was made a permanent part of the tax code in 2012, but we have been advocating for changes to improve the credit to make it refundable. While we plan to advocate for a refundable credit in the new Congress, we are very concerned about tax reform and how that will impact the current Adoption Tax Credit. In a speech in December, the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives, which is the committee in charge of tax reform, used the Adoption Tax Credit as an example of something that needs to go away with tax reform. Learn more about the ATC through the ATC Working Group coalition that RESOLVE is part of and serves on the Executive Committee.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare
While the ACA did not expand access to care for people with infertility, it did not hurt current state infertility mandates. The ACA did help people with infertility because of the previous insurance practice of denying insurance based on a pre-existing condition. Yes, insurers were denying insurance coverage to people with a pre-existing condition of infertility. Repealing the Affordable Care Act is a focus for this new Congress so there are many unknowns if actions to repeal will impact state mandates or deny people with infertility coverage because of their pre-existing condition(s).
Personhood in the States and in Congress
Personhood is declaring a fertilized egg a person, with all the rights and responsibilities of a living human being. RESOLVE has opposed Personhood at the state and federal level since the 2008 Colorado ballot initiative. RESOLVE has been a leader in the fight against Personhood as we have educated lawmakers across the country on how detrimental Personhood is to those who need IVF medical treatments. On January 17, 2017, a Personhood bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. RESOLVE is tracking this bill closely and encourages people to send a letter to their U.S. Representative stating their opposition to this Personhood bill. RESOLVE will be on the frontlines fighting all Personhood bills at the state level.
Lack of Insurance Coverage
Increasing insurance coverage is a huge issue for RESOLVE; but it’s also very complicated. As it relates to Congress, we have a few key areas where Congress and the federal government have a big say in health insurance coverage: 1) TRICARE which is the health insurance for active duty service members and retirees, does not cover IVF; 2) the VA ban on IVF needs to permanently go away; 3) the health insurance plans for federal employees do not offer IVF coverage. These are 3 areas where RESOLVE and you can work with our government to change coverage for millions of people covered by these health insurance plans.
What can you do now?
- Come to Advocacy Day in Washington, DC on May 18, 2017
- Attend Advocacy Day in your state capitol if you are from Minnesota or New York
- Get Involved at a Grassroots level in your state
- Sign up for action alerts from RESOLVE
- Donate to RESOLVE so that we are able to fight for access at the state and federal level