Raising Women’s Voices

On the Issues: Women’s Healthcare

Posted in Insurance companies, Maternity Care, Reproductive Health Care by raisingwomensvoices on February 19, 2009

womens_healthcare-l1In her article Health Care ‘Reform’ Is Not Enough, Susan Yanow criticizes health care initiatives, most of which look to provide the uninsured with affordable access, but fail to look at the underlying problems with the healthcare system. This is perhaps a suitable allegory for most healthcare today, which treats disease rather than working on prevention.

Ms. Yanow laments that the existing system allows insurance providers to decide who gets care, what providers we can use, and what services will be covered, all of which are based on finance, rather than health. Oftentimes healthcare is based on moral grounds, too, including the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortion care.

Ms. Yanow claims that the top five healthcare problems facing women today are:

1) Overhead costs deplete funds for services–If we had a single payer program with administrative costs similar to Medicaid, she claims, $20 billion would be saved and redirected towards services.

2) Hospitals are driven by the bottom line–this leads to an abundance of specialized services and a lack of preventative services; in addition, the cost of medical training keeps doctors from primary care or geriatric, which tend to pay less

3) Malpractice policies drive healthcare decisions–this leads to less options for women in terms of birthing choices

4) Hospitals with religious agendas restrict services–18% of hospitals are owned by the Catholic Church, and receive the same funding as non-denominational hospitals, but tend to restrict or deny abortion care, contraceptive services, infertility treatment, and end-of-life decisions

5) Healthcare is not a Central Value–we work to treat disease, not keep people healthy

Ms. Yanow maintains that with healthcare as a right, it must not be dependent on employment status or influenced by pre-existing conditions or religiously-imposed moral values. To be comprehensive, our healthcare must include mental health, dental health, and the choice of those who we feel can best provide for us.

sara siegel

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