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Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to introduce the Travel for Care Act.
On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court upended decades of precedent set by overturning Roe v. Wade. In the months since, we've seen the horrific effects of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision including an increase in states implementing abortion bans. As a result, a third of women of reproductive age in the United States now live more than an hour from the closest abortion facility and the average travel time to get an abortion has more than tripled.
After the Dobbs decision, President Biden signed an executive order to preserve abortion access, which included protecting people's ability to travel. Additionally, the House of Representatives passed the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act which prohibited states from interfering with people traveling for an abortion. Several major Fortune 500 corporations announced or reiterated that they would offer reimbursement for employees who needed to travel to receive abortion care.
The unfortunate reality is that far too many Americans are now dependent on their health plan and employer benefits to access care that they deserve to have. The Travel for Care Act would remove additional barriers to implement or within these benefits by ensuring that any reimbursement is not taxable income, raising the dollar limit for related costs like meals and lodging, and allowing employees covered by high deductible health plan to access this reimbursement without having met their deductible.
It's egregious that employers have stepped in where the federal government hasn't. Nobody should be forced to leave their state to seek medical care, but in a world where that's the case, they shouldn't face additional financial barriers. I will continue working to ensure that we are increasing access to abortion care in every way possible and I urge my colleagues to do the same.
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