Raising Women’s Voices

Hope for Those with Pre-Existing Conditions

Posted in DC Reform, Pre-existing conditions by raisingwomensvoices on March 19, 2009

On March 17 Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), member of the House Education and Labor Committee, announced their intention to introduce The Pre-Existing Condition Patient Protection Act. The bill will aid the 133 million Americans living with at least one chronic condition, and would require the secretary of Health and Human Services to submit a report to Congress on the extent of adverse selection. The bill has been endorsed by over 22 organizaitons.

Inadequate Care for Detainees

Posted in Health Disparities by raisingwomensvoices on March 19, 2009

Human Rights Watch and The Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center both released reports Tuesday which claimed that US immigration authorities repeatedly delay, deny, or botch medical care for detained immigrants. Causes cited include untrained or apathetic staff, overcrowding, limited services, language barriers, bureaucratic red tape, as well as the detention of those with serious medical issues, the elderly, and those without criminal records.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained over 300,000 people in the 2007 fiscal year, averaging around 30,000 a day. ICE claims that they spend as much as $128 million on medical and mental health care for detained immigrants, and this year will spend $2 million to review care provided by the Department of Homeland Security.

Women in particular suffer being shackled while pregnant, missing appointments for Pap smears or mammograms, and inadequate or no prenatal care. All of which, aside from its inhumane nature, can affect deportation status. Detained women have reported failures to follow up on signs of breast and cervical cancer, and lack of counseling for survivors of violence. Detained women have also routinely been denied access to simple supplies such as sanitary pads and breast pumps for nursing mothers. As Meghan Rhoad, researcher in the women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch says, “Because immigration detention is the fastest-growing form of incarceration in the United States, these abuses are especially dangerous. They remain largely hidden from public scrutiny or effective oversight.” Notably, though those detained are granted the same health rights as the community at large, the immigration agency’s policy focuses only on emergency care.

Detainees questioned reported that they eventually gave up attemping to receive medical care because of their discomfort being shackled while in transit, overall feeling of futility, and anger that security officers often refused to call medical staff or violated their privacy by watching medical exams. There have also been reports of transfer or segregation of detainees who complained about medical problems.

For access to the Human Rights Watch report click here

For access to the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center report click here

For the chron.com article click here

For the USA Today article click here

Public Plan vs. Taxing Benefits

Posted in Affordability, Health Reform Policy Proposals by raisingwomensvoices on March 19, 2009

Witnesses at a March 17th House Panel debated the merits of a public plan option and elimination of the tax exclusion for empolyer-provided health benefits.public-health1

Some congressional Republicans claim that creating a public plan will create an unfair advantage over private insurers, while some witnesses feel it will promote competition.

Judy Feder, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said “We’re talking about choice. And the importance of that choice is actually to set a model. Insurance companies are no model for running this system efficiently.”

According to Sally C. Pipes, who runs Pacific Research Institute, a non-profit free market think tank from San Francisco, the costs of the mandates for both public and private plans will only drive up prices, but keep the public plan’s lower, ultimately moving our health system to a “Medicaid for All” system. Instead, she claims that we should remove the tax exclusion on employer-sponsored coverage, reduce state mandates, allow the purchase of insurance across state lines, and enact medical malpractice reform.

But others feel that tax exclusion will create more problems with affordability which, today, is the bottom line for many Americans.

For more information click here

Healthcare Benefits as Income?

Posted in Affordability, Health Reform Policy Proposals by raisingwomensvoices on March 19, 2009

On March 15, two aides in Obama’s administration–Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Adviers, and CEA member Austan Goolsbee–downplayed reports that the president might be willing to tax individuals on the value of employer-paid benefits as part of an effort to reform the health system.

dollarMs. Romer claimed that, in line with his position during the campaign, taxing benefits is not in the proposal, and Obama remains skeptical of counting benefits as part of an individual’s income.

Republicans meanwhile criticize the unclear language referring to the “down payment” of $634 billion to reform healthcare, and remain curious where the rest of the money will come from.

Report on Massachusetts’ Reform

Posted in State Reform by raisingwomensvoices on March 19, 2009

A report from the Institute of America’s Future claims that the biggest flaw in Massachusetts’ healthcare reform is the lack of a public plan option.

The reforms, which were adopted in 2006, include free coverage for the poor, subsidized plans for those with low-income, low-cost plans provided through a state agency, and a mandate for almost all citizens to obtain insurance. The reforms have decreased the number of uninsured and increased the number of employers offering coverage. But the dependence on private health plans has failed to slow spending. Without a public plan option to compete with private plans, there has been no reduction in costs.

Food for thought while we decide what to do on a national level.

Immigrant Healthcare

Posted in Health Disparities by raisingwomensvoices on March 19, 2009

Per a USA Today report, the US Healthcare system does not adequately support healthcare for immigrants. Often immigrants are unaware of the programs which they qualify for, and have difficulty finding medical professionals who speak their language.

Sapna Pandya of the Center for Immigrant Health at New York University says the government sould work to aid immigrants without questioning their legal status because oftentimes, these same immigrants pay sales, income and payroll taxes.

With the economy in the state it is currently in, programs to help immigrants are not likely to be created and, those that already exist, are likely to lose funding. But these programs are important now because of their future potential to prevent epidemics.

For the USA Today article, click here

Health Insurance Limitations

Posted in DC Reform, Health Disparities by raisingwomensvoices on March 19, 2009

According to a March 17th report from Health Affairs, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) perfectly illustrates the limitations of incremental health care reform.

Despite gains,  nearly 9 million children remain uninsured. And, unlike children and the elderly, most uninsured Americans are not part of sympathetic subgroups that can fit well into public programs.

For access to the article click here

Regional Health Reforms

Posted in Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on March 12, 2009

Check out healthreform.gov to see live streaming of the regional forums on health reform.

MAP084Click here to submit ideas or questions for upcoming forums, and attend one yourself!

Dearborn, Michigan: March 12th

Burlington, Vermont: March 17th

Des Moines, Iowa: March 23rd

Greensboro, North Carolina: March 31st

Los Angeles, California: April 6th

The Beat is Back!

Posted in Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on March 12, 2009

familiesusaWith the ongoing promise of health care reform, it is essential that state advocates stay connected with one another.

As such, Families USA is re-launching the State Health Beat as an interactive tool to increase communication, including health care news, personal stories, and examples of what’s working and what isn’t.

Email stateinfo@familiesusa.org with your story, and click here to subscribe

sara siegel

Feel the RWV Love!

Posted in Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on March 12, 2009

Check out Cindy Pearson raising a question about women’s health at the recent Righting the Script conference sponsored by the Prescription Project of Community Catalyst! And look at the RWV pin she’s wearing!