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 Legislative & Policy Corner

AMCHP Advocating to End Sequester
Over the past two weeks, AMCHP staff have joined a maternal and child health (MCH) coalition consisting of representatives of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes, and National WIC Directors Association to urge the 29 members of Congress on the Budget Conference Committee to find a way to end sequestration and stop cuts to the MCH system. The Conference Committee has until Dec. 13 to come to an agreement and deliver a conference report that would lay out top-line budget numbers for Appropriations Committee to finalize FY 2014 program funding levels. As a reminder the current continuing resolution expires Jan. 15.

Start Planning for AMCHP Hill Day
Members and partners planning to attend the AMCHP Annual Conference in January are reminded we are encouraging those who are able to start planning now to visit their elected officials while in town. AMCHP will be conducting online advocacy training in advance of the conference and on-site to provide you with key advocacy messages and materials, and answer any questions you might have. Stay tuned for the training announcement.

Campaign for Public Health Soliciting Unsung Hero Award Nominations
Nominations for the fourth-annual Campaign for Public Health Unsung Heroes of Public Health Awards are open through "Public Health Thank-you Day," which falls on Monday, Nov. 25. They extended the original deadline to accommodate those impacted by the recent government shutdown. More information on the awards and nomination process are available here.

HEALTH REFORM IMPLEMENTATION

Health Reform and Insurance Coverage for Pregnant Women, Webinar Series: Part 2
Open enrollment is underway, and with it come new opportunities to significantly impact public and private health insurance coverage options for lower- and moderate-income pregnant women. In our second webinar addressing this issue, the National Health Law Program, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, AMCHP, the March of Dimes, the National Partnership for Women & Families and the National Women’s Law Center will take a closer look at eligibility requirements, benefits and costs associated with Medicaid and Marketplace coverage options. Tune in on Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. EST to have your questions answered and to learn more about the obstacles to and opportunities for maintaining continuity of care and coverage for pregnant women and their families. To register, click here. For questions, contact Dipti Singh, Staff Attorney, National Health Law Program.

Update on Federal Enrollment
At a recent meeting in Washington, D.C., Anton Gunn, director of external affairs in the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (IEA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spoke to the group about the recent bumpy start for the federal marketplace website, healthcare.gov during the first month of open enrollment. His message was the following:

  • People are getting through the healthcare.gov website and HHS is gathering stories
  • Nov. 30 is the deadline for the “re-launch” of healthcare.gov; they are working on both capacity and functionality issues
  • HHS will have a host of activities that will be released within the next week or so around on efforts to get people enrolled in that period between Nov. 30 and Dec. 15 so their plans can start on Jan. 1
  • HHS also will have an updated plan for the entire open enrollment period, which lasts through Mar. 31, 2014
  • The Spanish language website also will be launched on Nov. 30
  • The call center is still up and running, available in 150 languages (1-800-318-2596, TTY: 1-855-889-4325)
  • There are 20,000 trained assisters and counting
  • HHS still wants people/organizations to become certified application counselor, it’s not too late

 As a reminder, AMCHP has these helpful fact sheets for state MCH programs to engage in outreach and enrollment activities:

HHS Awards $150 million to 236 Health Centers
As part of the Affordable Care Act,HHS awarded $150 million to fund the establishment of 236 new full-time service delivery sites across the country. Community health centers play an important role not only in providing high quality health care services to the uninsured, but also in activities to enroll community members in health insurance through the health insurance marketplace. For a map of states that received funds and the HHS press release, please click here.