Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Health Care Gurus Give Us the Info!

Did you know that a country’s level of women’s health care correlates to the strength of its feminist movement? The Feminst Majority brought home the correlation between health care, feminism, money and power with their first-ever Women, Money, Power Summit, which screamed from rooftops that HEALTH CARE REFORM IS A WOMEN’S ISSUE AND THAT WOMEN’S RIGHTS CANNOT BE USED AS A TOOL TO UNDERMINE CHANGE!
At the interactive workshop, “Impact of Health Insurance Reform on Women,” four gurus of health insurance reform (Eleanor Hinton Hoytt, Cynthia Pearson, Judy Waxman and Susan Wood, Ph.D.) were called in to answer all of our burning questions. Here’s a run-down on some of the topics they discussed.

**One of the highest insurance cost drivers is women's chronic diseases (examples: heart disease, diabetes, cancers, etc…)

**Preventative care (taking care of an ailment before it gets out of hand and lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and exercise) does pay off. Women who do not have primary care physicians (with poverty being a large determinant) miss out on these preventative measures, and then go the emergency room when dire (and more expensive) conditions arise.

**A chief complaint among women is that “health insurance doesn’t care about/ is ignoring” them (especially with examples like gender biases on premiums, lifetime caps and some plans listing cesarean sections/domestic violence as “pre-existing conditions.”)

**The Capp’s Compromise will not fund elective abortion from federal Treasury accounts. The public option would be based on any other health insurance, where premiums are paid to the insurance company, not directly to the government. As an insurance provider, it must abide by the Hyde Amendment, which states that if an insurance company should choose to include abortion services in their benefit plan, they are prohibited from using federal subsidies to cover them. (It was mentioned in the panel that insurance companies often lean towards pro-reproductive rights, as birth control, the morning after pill and the abortion pill are all much cheaper than pregnancy.)

**One of the best ways to make sure the demands of women will be included in the health care reform is to voice your opinion (remember: if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!). Getting involved with community organizations like Raising Women’s Voices is a great way to ensure things like stronger public health measures, healthcare that covers a full life-span, affordability, and equal payment plans pass. When a cause is personalized, the public relates better.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, 76% of women said “our current health care system should be reformed or radically changed.” You are not alone. Check out some of these websites to learn more and add your voice to the movement:

photo credits: bortove from
(from ACT UP, circa 1969)

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