there anything that we could be doing to help? nt

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Posted by Leslie on July 17, 19100 at 16:20:41:

In Reply to: AIA Advocacy Report posted by Robert Spolzino, Esq. (legislative counsel for AIA) on July 17, 19100 at 10:16:02:

: Advocacy Report
: Disappointed is not a strong enough word for how we felt at two o’clock in the
: morning on June 23rd, when the New York State Senate adjourned without passing an
: infertility insurance bill that the Assembly could agree on. Although infertility insurance
: was a hot topic for the last two weeks of the session, and we were told that significant
: negotiations on our issue, involving Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Assembly
: Speaker Sheldon Silver and Governor George Pataki, were going on until two hours
: before the Senate adjourned, no agreement was reached before the Senate left for,
: possibly, the rest of the year.
: The stumbling block continues to be the religious exemption clause, the same issue that
: has divided the two houses of the legislature since February, when both passed
: different versions of the legislation. Basically, the Senate supports the position of the
: New York State Catholic Conference that the Catholic Church and similar religious
: entities should not be required to provide insurance for procedures, such as in vitro
: fertilization, that they find to be morally objectionable. The Assembly refuses to pass a
: bill that contains such an exemption, taking the position that the insurance is provided
: for individuals who may or may not share the entity’s moral beliefs, but should not be
: excluded from insurance for their disease. The result is an impasse that has thus far
: prevented the adoption of an infertility insurance law in New York this year.
: AIA’s goal throughout this debate has been to work toward the adoption of any bill
: that both houses can agree on, whether it contains a religious exemption clause or not.
: The reason for this approach is simple. Since even the broadest conscience clause that
: has been discussed would apply only to employees of religious entities and those who
: are insured by religiously-affiliated insurers, the number of infertile couples that would
: be excluded from coverage by a religious exemption is far smaller than the number of
: couples that are currently unable to obtain insurance without the legislation. As a result,
: AIA has taken the position that either version of the bill would be acceptable, since it
: would provide substantial benefits to many infertile couples who currently have no
: insurance.
: The unfortunate result of this whole debate, however, is that it has not been beneficial
: to any of the parties who have worked seriously and hard to solve the problem. The
: infertile community has been denied legislation that all sides otherwise recognize is
: necessary. The Catholic Conference has been forced into an unfortunate dispute with
: the Orthodox Jewish organizations that have supported our effort, organizations with
: which the Catholic Conference generally agrees more than it disagrees. The Senate
: and the Assembly have been frustrated in resolving an issue that both sides say they
: want to resolve. The only winner in all of this has been the health insurers and HMO’s,
: who once again are able to avoid providing the benefits they should be providing for the
: disease of infertility.
: Despite our frustrations, however, we should not fail to recognize how far we have
: come since this effort began. A year and a half ago, the New York State Legislature
: was not even talking about legislation to require infertility insurance coverage. Today,
: the Senate and the Assembly agree that infertility insurance legislation is required.
: Although they can’t yet agree on the specific terms of that legislation, they were talking
: about it in the last few moments of this year’s legislative session.
: Our goal now is to get the Senate and the Assembly to continue to talk about the need
: for infertility insurance and to take up the issue as soon as they reconvene – whether
: that is in September, December or January. Our plan is to keep the parties talking until
: an acceptable compromise is reached. We cannot let the insurance companies and
: HMO’s continue to be the only winners.

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