Raising Women’s Voices

Victories in New York!

Posted in Health Disparities, State Reform by raisingwomensvoices on July 17, 2009

Health Care for All New York has done an amazing job this past legislative session. From a recent press release:

“Last night, the Senate passed three insurance reform bills strongly supported by HCFANY:

1.    A.8400/S.5471, which extends COBRA coverage from 18 to 36 months for workers who are laid off or have a reduction in hours;

2.    A.9036/S.6030, which allows young adults (ages 19-29) to obtain a COBRA-like coverage through his or her parent’s insurance, while still preserving New York’s pure community rating system; and

3.    A.8402/S.5472, which strengthens and updates consumer and provider protections in managed care and similar products, including enhanced access to cutting edge treatments for people with rare diseases.

These bills have already passed the Assembly, and HCFANY urges the Governor to sign them as quickly as possible.”

Super exciting! Check out their website here.

The NEJM gives solutions

Posted in DC Reform, Health Disparities, Health Reform Policy Proposals by raisingwomensvoices on July 10, 2009

Yesterday the New England Journal of Medicine released an article written by Michael Porter that outlines the solution to health care reform. He breaks it up into a series of steps before and after reform.

In the face of a significant aging population in this country and the development of new medical technologies, Porter makes the case for an increased value-based system of health provision where “the central focus [is] increasing value for patients – the health outcomes achieved per dollar spent”. He states that “achieving and maintaining good health is inherently less costly than dealing with poor health” and that the two goals should be universal coverage and a complete restructuring of the care delivery system. His suggestions for doing this are as follows:

1. Changing the basis of health insurance competition: companies should do well when they take care of their patients. This seams obvious, but right now insurance companies benefit when they provide lots of care, not necessarily the best care. Porter also suggests the removal of things like gender and age ratings and discrimination against individuals with preexisting conditions. In addition, health plans should be required to report the outcomes of health care they cover. All of these things point back to the basic premise of a value-based system.

2. Porter asserts that employers should be kept in the system because they depend on the performance of their employees, so they are interested in keeping them healthy.

3. Fix the burden that has been put on individuals who have no access to employer-based coverage.

4. Porter makes the case for larger pools that will spread out costs.

5. Financial support for individuals of lower-incomes will help them get health insurance and therefore stay healthy.

6. Everyone should be required to purchase health insurance so as to spread out the costs and everyone is included.

Porter also emphasizes the importance of measuring and disseminating health outcomes so everyone knows which health providers offer the best care. Preventive services are essential to the change in attitude about health care. Consumers need to be encouraged to address health concerns before they become health emergencies. A better reimbursement system would benefit everyone, as would electronic medical records that help measure outcomes.

Check out the full article here, and let us know what you think!

Budget cuts = cuts to women’s health care

Posted in Health Disparities, Reproductive Health Care, Sexual health by raisingwomensvoices on July 2, 2009

Amy Rosenthal wrote an article about the unfortunate cuts many cities are making to their budgets that turn out to be cuts to women’s health care. One specific example she gives is cuts to the processing of rape kits in places like LA.

“These women are already rape victims. We should make sure they aren’t also victims of a poor justice system.”

Amen to that.

Study from the Journal of Women’s Health outlines racial disparities in pregnancy

Posted in Health Disparities, Maternity Care, Reports and Studies, Reproductive Health Care by raisingwomensvoices on June 26, 2009

A study in the Journal of Women’s Health found that women with depression or depression symptoms are much more likely to give birth preterm. This trend is much more pronounced in communities of color, with the risk for black women twice that of white women. You can read the abstract here, and the summary article from the National Partnership for Women and Families here. This is evidence that health disparities are alive and well in our health care system and is one of the reasons we need to continue to fight for the rights of women of color and other marginalized groups.

Several organizations and individuals support a single-payer system

Posted in DC Reform, Grassroots, Health Disparities, Health Reform Policy Proposals by raisingwomensvoices on June 16, 2009

Check out the Our Bodies, Our Blog post about the recent Our Bodies Ourselves position paper that supports a single-payer system. In addition, Judy Norsigian and Jennifer Potter wrote a piece about the single-payer option being the best option. Some New York residents came out to speak about health care reform – many elected officials stating they fully support a single-payer system, and won’t support anything that doesn’t include a public option. This event was hosted by NW Bronx for Change and the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democrats and happened on June 13th. Read the full account here. Howard Dean (D – VT, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee) came out against the co-op option put forward by Kent Conrad.

Gender discrimination in medical research

Posted in Health Disparities, Personal Stories, Reports and Studies by raisingwomensvoices on June 11, 2009

Bonnie Erbe writes a blog entry for the US News & World Report about a survey of clinical trials (governmental and private) that proves a clear under representation of women in medical research. This has negative consequences for women’s health. Read the full blog entry here.

Unsatisfied with your health care? Move to Green Bay, Wisconsin!

Posted in Affordability, DC Reform, Health Disparities, Health Reform Policy Proposals by raisingwomensvoices on June 11, 2009

Referred by the Washington Post as “one of the highest-value health communities in the nation”, Green Bay, Wisconsin offers controlled cost and first-rate care. This is where President Obama has gone for his first of a series of many town-hall meetings to promote health care reform. Physician communication and collaboration, digitized records, and preventative care are all things that Green Bay does well and Obama will be sure to point out as integral to improving our health care system nation-wide.

Some wise words from Ezra…

Posted in Affordability, DC Reform, Health Disparities, Health Reform Policy Proposals by raisingwomensvoices on June 9, 2009

About health care reform, the public option, and why those two things make sense together.

A new perspective on the cost problem

Posted in Affordability, DC Reform, Health Disparities by raisingwomensvoices on June 9, 2009

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.

Secretary Sebelius on women and health reform

Posted in DC Reform, Health Disparities by raisingwomensvoices on May 13, 2009

In honor of National Women’s Health Week, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the HHS Office of Health Reform released a report, Roadblacks to Health Care, and taped a video message from Sebelius on women and health reform.  They report:

We know that the health care crisis impacts every American, but our mothers, daughters and sisters are paying a particularly heavy price. Today, 21 million women and girls are uninsured…In the individual insurance market, women are often charged higher premiums than men during their reproductive years. Holding other factors constant, a 22 year old woman can be charged one and a half times the premium of a 22 year old man.  In a recent national survey, more than half of women (52%) reported delaying or avoiding needed care because of cost, compared with 39% of men.


Share your own stories, concerns, and ideas about women’s health reform at HealthReform.gov