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Senators Vote On Women's Health Amendments

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Members of the Senate today voted 61-39 to approve a women’s preventive health measure proposed by Sen. Barbara Mikulski and voted 41-59 to reject a women’s health measure proposed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The amendments came up on the Senate floor today in connection with debate on H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act bill.

The amendment offered by Mikulski, D-Md., would eliminate co-payments and deductibles for many preventive care services used by women, such as cervical cancer screenings, pregnancy screenings and post-partum depression screenings.

The amendment offered by Murkowski, R-Alaska, responds to the recent recommendation by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force that mammograms be deemphasized.

The Murkowski bill would call for the secretary of Health and Human Services to not use task force recommendations when setting standards for preventive care. The amendment also would prohibit the government from classifying abortion services as preventive services.

Mikulski spoke against the Murkowski amendment, arguing that it would do nothing to help make preventive services available to women.