Loretta Ross is the National Coordinator of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, and is a supporter of Raising Women’s Voices. She wrote an article about the need for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. The article can be reached at the On the Issues website. It describes the need for federal funding of abortion for the most disadvantaged women in our communities. Ross states that President Obama “is disappointing his strongest supporters by not standing up for the rights of poor women who need public funding for abortion”. Also, check out this roundup that includes Loretta’s article at Our Bodies, Our Blog.
Alexia Kelley has been appointed by the Obama administration to serve as director of Faith-based and Community Initiatives in the Department of Health and Human Services. Vanessa at Feministing wrote an article a few days ago about the appointment of Alexia Kelley on the Faith-based and Community Partnerships office under the federal Department of Health and Human Services. This is clearly an appointment that further challenges the Obama administration’s pro-choice stance, and Feministing says it is a dangerous appointment for the pro-choice movement. The Kelley appointment, however right it may be for political capital, is definitely something to watch in the coming years. On the bright side, things could be worse (as always). Kelley doesn’t seem to be a favorite of dear Bill O’Reilly, and she’s done significant work toward supporting health care reform and the rights of the poor. We’ll see, I guess.
Dr. Atul Gawande wrote a piece for the New Yorker last week that outlined the geographic health care provision disparities in a few towns in rural Texas. These disparities are a concern for health care consumers as well as policy makers in the debate around health care reform, and President Obama has taken the Gawande piece to heart. There is discussion in both the White House and Congress on how to even out the costs and make sure everyone is getting effective health care without spending money that doesn’t need to be spent. This issue is unendingly complex – the reasons behind why Medicare spends more money in some areas then others is not completely clear, so it is difficult to have conversations around how to solve the problem. This of course goes hand-in-hand with the discussion about how to pay for health care reform.
“Mr. Orszag says health spending could be reduced by as much as 30 percent, or $700 billion a year, without compromising the quality of care, if more doctors and hospitals practiced like those in low-cost areas. The supply of hospitals, medical specialists and high-tech equipment “appears to generate its own demand,” Mr. Orszag has said.”
Read the full article by Robert Pear, published yesterday in the New York Times. Also, the Wall Street Journal did an article outlining the main problems facing President Obama, the Senate, and the House: the formation and inclusion of a public option, and how to pay for this whole thing.
USA Today did an article today about the swing votes in the Senate in the debate over health care reform. Moderates are going to be important players when these bills go to floor discussions and eventually to votes. Read the full piece here.
On Monday there was a parliamentary scuffle in the New York statehouse over a vote that was happening as the session was ending. Apparently, two Democrats made the temporary switch to the Republican side to pass a motion and there has been some tension in the chamber since then. Though some insist that the Democrats never lost majority, we’ll see what happens in the coming days. Read the full article from the New York times.
Ted Kennedy (D – Massachusetts, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee) has been and will continue to be absent from the Senate chamber as he tries to deal with his illness. An article in the New York Times points out that his “gravitas and the force of his personality, particularly his ability to usher colleagues past minor disputes in pursuit of larger goals” will be sorely missed as the Senate and House move toward policy debate over health care reform. Read the full article here.