PRH on the Hill
Welcome to a new(ish) year, a new Administration, a new Congress, and a whole bunch of policy impacting you, me, and the communities in which we live and work. And welcome to our new blog series, PRH in Action, where we will share policy updates, resources, ways to engage, and additional insight into what PRH staff and our network of physicians are working on!
Here at PRH we are committed to ensuring that law and policy moving on Capitol Hill is based on science, medical evidence, and ensures the health, well-being, and dignity of people across the country regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, disability, socioeconomic status, geographic location, or immigration status. We do this work because we believe that every person has the right to access the health care they need and live with safety and economic security in their communities, free from discrimination.
PRH is moving forward with our coalition partners and champions on the Hill on a critical set of legislative priorities. We bring the voice of evidence and science to these issues and ensure policy makers hear from the medical experts experiencing the impacts of policy firsthand on the lives of the patients they provide care for and on their ability to practice evidence-based medicine.
Our legislative priorities reflect these core values and we are excited to share them with you!
Our Federal Legislative Priorities
Ending the discriminatory Hyde Amendment and passing the EACH Act
The Hyde Amendment and related restrictions, such as the Helms and Weldon Amendments, withhold coverage of abortion for those who get their health care through the federal government, including those enrolled in Medicaid, federal employees, Native American people receiving care through Indian Health Services, and people serving in the military, among others. The Hyde Amendment is language added every year to the Labor-HHS appropriations bills that fund the government.
The Hyde Amendment is discriminatory. It disproportionately harms Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, young people, those living in rural areas, and people with low incomes, all who are more likely to rely on government sponsored insurance for coverage because of systemic barriers and inequities. PRH is working closely with Members of Congress to ensure clean appropriations bills free from harmful anti-abortion riders.
The EACH Act is bold legislation to reverse the Hyde Amendment and related restrictions. Not only would EACH set the federal government as the standard bearer, meaning that they would be required to ensure that every person who receives care through the federal government has coverage for abortion services, it would also prohibit political interference with decisions by private health insurance companies to offer coverage for abortion care. PRH, following the leadership of All* Above All and committed coalition partners, is working to re-introduce the EACH Act with strong support from Members of Congress.
PRH IN ACTION: This year’s class of LTA fellows met with Congressional offices to explain why abortion coverage restrictions were harmful to the patients they care for. And PRH CEO, Dr. Jamila Perritt, was invited to testify in front of the Labor-HHS House Appropriations Subcommittee about the very real harms of the Hyde Amendment.
Our providers know first-hand the impact abortion restrictions have on their patients and on their ability to provide this critical medical care. WHPA is a federal bill that would protect the right to access abortion care by creating a safeguard against bans and medically unnecessary restrictions that don’t apply to similar medical care. During the last Congress, the bill earned more support than ever before. PRH is working closely across coalitions on the federal strategy and in support of the reintroduction of WHPA.
PRH IN ACTION: PRH has supported this bill since it was first introduced. And in February 2020 PRH once again served as the go to provider voice when our Board Member Dr. Yashica Robinson of Huntsville, Alabama was invited to testify in support of the bill at its first ever hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Dr. Robinson also testified in 2019 before the House Judiciary Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Subcommittee about the efforts in Alabama to ban abortion and the harmful impacts on her patients.
The Title X family planning program has served as the nation’s only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning for over fifty years. More than four million people rely on the Title X program annually to access essential health care, including contraception and other family planning services. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has devastated this critical program by enacting a domestic gag rule, preventing providers from discussing abortion and imposing strict physical and financial separation of Title X services from abortion services. As a result, many providers stopped accepting funding – rather than be prohibited from providing comprehensive reproductive health care for patients – slashing the Title X program’s capacity by half. On January 28, 2021 the Biden-Harris Administration took its first steps to rescind the harmful domestic gag rule; however, more needs to be done. PRH is committed to ensuring the Title X program is protected and has continued to urge Congress and the Administration to provide the Title X program with additional funds to undue the harm of the last four years and increase the program’s capacity.
PRH IN ACTION: In 2020 we visited over 40 Capitol Hill offices educating lawmakers about why the gag rule is unethical and wrong. Our providers have spoken at press conferences and to the media about why this rule must be changed. In 2019, Dr. Perritt testified before the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee about the gag rule’s harmful impacts.
Health coverage and care are critical for every family, no matter their immigration status. Unfortunately, current U.S. law and policy creates unnecessary barriers making it harder for immigrant people to get the care they need. The HEAL Act would expand access to comprehensive health care coverage. The bill restores enrollment to full-benefit Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to all federally authorized immigrants who are otherwise eligible and removes the unjustifiable exclusion of undocumented immigrants from accessing health insurance coverage on the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Exchanges.
PRH is following the leadership of NAPAWF and members of the HEAL coalition who are championing the HEAL Act in Congress.
Too often, pregnant workers are forced out of their jobs and denied reasonable accommodations that would enable them to continue working while pregnant and supporting their families. The PWFA would help end discrimination against pregnant people and promote healthy pregnancies by providing workers reasonable accommodations, such as a chair to sit on or a glass of water at their workstation. Patients deserve dignity at work and to be able to provide for their families without jeopardizing their health and well-being. PRH will continue advocating for passage of PWFA so that all people are able to live and work in safe conditions, free from discrimination.
Us to employers who discriminate against pregnant people:
Watch for Future Updates!
Our legislative agenda is ambitious, bold, and one that envisions a better world where each of us lives healthy, dignified, economically secure lives. At PRH we will keep fighting for this vision. Watch for future updates on our work, ways to engage, and resources to help you stay informed.
– MiQuel Davies, Assistant Director of Public Policy