Healthcare

Ensuring access to phone service guaranteed under the ADA

I am a deaf man and in order to make a phone call I use what is called Video Relay Service, or VRS.  VRS responds to the mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide functional equivalency for telecommunications for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.  I do not exaggerate when I say that VRS has changed my life.  It has.  Yet, as I write this, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in the process of making changes to VRS and related services that undermine the mandates of the ADA and will make it harder for me and others just like me to use the telephone.

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Make good on mental health parity

The lack of access to quality mental health and addictions services is one of the most important and most neglected civil rights issues confronting the nation. Care of the mentally ill is one of our greatest and most enduring health disparities and one of the country’s most resounding failures. People living with mental disorders and addictions have suffered far too long from discriminatory policies and practices rooted in so many causes – stigma, inadequate services and access, underfunding of research and restricted insurance requirements and coverage.

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Time for Congress to put veterans funding first

Whether the government shutdown is long or short, Washington’s continuing failure to resolve budget disputes disrupts processing and delivery of vital benefits to our nation’s veterans.  According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a prolonged government shutdown will close many VA offices to veterans seeking benefits, delay even further the hundreds of thousands of veterans’ claims still awaiting decisions, and soon result in halting disability compensation payments to 3.8 million veterans, their dependents and survivors, many of whom have no other sources of support.  This is outrageous and unacceptable; worse it was predictable and preventable.

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McBait and switch: McDonald’s health pledge contradicted by the fine print

Boy, did I get an education recently, thanks to McDonald’s.  Like many health advocates around the nation, I was thrilled to read about McDonald’s and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s (AHG) agreement that would bring healthy changes to Value Meals and children’s Happy Meals. The press conference was held on September 26 at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. President Clinton was in attendance to help tout the agreement, as well as the CEOs of McDonald’s and AHG.

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October 1: American taxpayers and employers go into the abortion business

On Oct. 1, Americans will be in the abortion business.  Despite promises made by Congress and President Obama’s Executive Order 13535 which purported to restrict federal funding of abortion, when open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins taxpayers and employers will be paying for elective abortions and other morally objectionable products and services - religious objections be damned.

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Yet another attack on women's health

Just when you think the far-right wing of the Republican Party can’t get any more out of touch: House Republicans voted to shut down the federal government and the services it provides in order to cut women off from preventive health care.

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Will divided Republicans help implement ObamaCare?

If there is one absolute about Republicans today it is that we are a house divided — and the inevitable result is predetermined. Democrats, by contrast, are unified in their support and demand that the U.S. must speed ahead with more than a trillion dollars in new entitlement spending under ObamaCare even though our nation is in the middle of a debt crisis. One would expect Republicans to win this battle hands down, yet few consider it even a remote possibility.

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No congressional Obamacare exemptions

As Obamacare officially begins, Americans are becoming increasingly aware of its negative impacts on our lives. Ironically, the people who pushed this law the hardest have now exempted members of Congress and their staff from Obamacare. This is wrong. That’s why I am working alongside Sen. David Vitter (R-la.) and House colleagues to include an amendment to any government spending package (The James Madison Congressional Accountability Act) which would ensure that members of Congress don’t get taxpayer funded subsidies to pay for their health care. Louisiana families are not getting special breaks from this law and neither should Congress.

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