Evidently, strong opposition to this bill continues to come from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) of Oklahoma who refuses to pass any of what he calls “disease-specific” legislation. What, is he afraid that by doing so, he may appear to have a conflict of interest? Is this another example of someone who knows the truth and wants to protect his own reputation more than he wants to help the very people he had taken an oath to help as an MD? Or worse yet, did the anti-pharma extremists get to him?
What vicious irony….the one major senatorial opponent is an OB. Huh? Are you as confused (and angered) as I am? For a person whose career and education have been based on helping women, there is no excuse for his blocking a bill that will help mothers. It’s simply inexcusable. This behavior only serves to reinforce my belief that OB/GYNs need just as much to be educated as the public–which is why this legislation is SO CRITICAL! There are still OB/GYNs out there that still need to learn to forget about the mythical “Oh it’s just the blues, you’ll snap out of it” and correctly detect, diagnose, and provide information about treatment options to our mothers so they can make an informed decision on what’s right for them.
Just so you are aware–because I wasn’t aware before–the bill that was just passed through Congress now has to be moved by the Senate H.E.L.P. (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions) Committee to a vote on the floor of the Senate. I was also made aware by Katherine Stone’s post yesterday that there is no Democratic opposition in the Senate, just a lack of Republican support. HELP….what an appropriate name for a committee that can make it or break it for this bill that can help mothers, and how ironic that Senator Coburn is standing in the way of mothers getting help.
So, the major hurdles are 1) ensure the bill is moved through HELP by calling/emailing Senator Coburn’s office, and 2) call/email your Republican Senators. What I did upon reading Katherine Stone’s post yesterday about Senator Coburn (and PLEASE DO THE SAME):
- Sent an email via his website asking why he’s so intent on blocking legislation that will benefit mothers, the very people he was educated and spent his career thus far trying to help.
- Called and left a message at one of these numbers: Dr. Coburn’s office in Washington: 202-224-5754, Tulsa: 918-581-7651 and Oklahoma City: 405-231-4941.
Senator Menendez has to be commended and thanked for working so hard on this bill for so many years, and not giving up. He is committed to seeing that this bill passes once and for all, even changing the language in the bill to address the concerns of Republicans as other parties such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists–specifically, with respect to the concerns about mandatory screening, there is NOTHING in the bill that mandates it!
What the Republicans, including Senator Coburn, need to realize is that postpartum mood disorders is a silent epidemic, that they don’t hear much about it due to 1) stigma that comes with mental health particularly around childbirth and motherhood, and 2) not enough women knowing how to even recognize what they’ve got (or had) is (or was) a postpartum mood disorder. Just because they don’t hear about these illnesses doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
I’m going to repeat my earlier post here, because I feel it is so important:
Without a federal mandate, improvements in 1) public perception toward moms with PPD, 2) research efforts to improve existing treatment options and ability to detect PPD earlier and thus minimize the impact on mothers, 3) availability of support services, and 4) quality of care by medical/mental health practitioners will continue to crawl at a snail’s pace like it’s done for centuries…..and at what cost?
How many more mothers (and families) must suffer before people realize that something must be done to help mothers (and families) in this country?