Raising Women’s Voices

Senator Gillibrand Commits to Health Reform with NY Health Advocates

Posted in Affordability, Health Reform Policy Proposals, Insurance companies, Personal Stories by raisingwomensvoices on April 13, 2009

On April 13th, 2009, Raising Women’s Voices hosted the NYC regional meeting of Health Care for America Now.  The event was attended by advocates from various organizations committed to health reform, including Committee of Interns and Resident/SEIU Healthcare, Metro NY Health Care for All, ACORN, AFL-CIO, 1199 SEIU, Children’s Defense Fund of NY, Make the Road NY, MoveOn.org, Nation Physicians Alliance, New York Immigration Coalition, Community Service Society, Communication Workers of America, New Yorker’s for Fiscal Fairness and others.

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Sen. Gillibrand and Lois Uttely

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, pictured with Raising Women’s Voices co-founder Lois Uttely, was also in attendance.  The Senator had the opportunity to listen to the personal stories of several constituents who struggled to access and pay for comprehensive health care, before addressing the meeting with her reactions and commitment to health care reform.  One woman from NYC for Change shared her story about being diagnosed with cancer over ten years ago, and the struggles she has had to face.  Speaking directly to the Senator, she shared her personal feeling that fighting the insurance companies is harder than fighting her cancer.

In response to the stories shared and the advocates present,  Senator Gillibrand has voiced her commitment HCAN’s Core Principles by:

  • Pushing for a Medicare-for-all public plan
  • Supporting the budget reconciliation process in the Senate that would require majority vote for health reform
  • Supporting programs, such as S-CHIP, that remove the 5 year waiting period that legal immigrants must meet for eligibility requirements

Click here for a list of the 185 Congressional members that support HCAN’s core principles, (including President Obama).

Illegal Immigrant’s Struggle

Posted in Personal Stories by raisingwomensvoices on April 9, 2009

Oftentimes with a small support system, little money, no documents and language barriers, illegal immigrants struggle in the United States with both access to and cost of healthcare.

On Tuesday, Mariana de la Torre, 28, died back in Mexico. She made headlines after coming to the US illegally and using an imprisoned woman’s identity to receive over $500,000 worth of care after discovering she had cervical cancer.

For the article click here and the obituary click here

NYC Speak-Out Success!

Posted in Affordability, Personal Stories by raisingwomensvoices on April 6, 2009

Over 125 women and health advocates came together on April 1st, 2009 to participate in the National Women’s Speak-Out for Health Reform.speak-out-crowd  Free and open to the public, women shared their personal stories and experiences with the health care system.  Issues raised included affordability and access to care, the occurrence of high medical debt, being uninsured and under-insured, experiencing language barriers and the lack of cultural competency.  Women shared stories about not being able to access coverage due to ‘pre-existing conditions’ and the difficulty in navigating the medical and insurance system, as well as the public assistance programs.

In addition to the Speak-Out, workshops were held with speakers and moderators from various health and policy organizations, including the National Women’s Health Network, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, National Health Law Program, Families USA, Health Care for America NOW!,  the Boston Women’s Health Collective, the National Council of La Raza, the National Latina Institutefor Reproductive Health, and many more.   Participants had the opportunity to learn how to listen and elicit stories, addressing how to remain accountable and ethical when gathering and sharing those stories.  An entire workshop was devoted to learning about various multi-media options and new technologies available to advocates for reaching out to broader bases of supporters.  Health policy experts from the state and national levels also shared some strategies  to address the some of the challenges that lie ahead in the debate on health care reform.

What were some of the take-away lessons? Be bold and raise your voice! Talk with members of your community, post information on blogs and networking sites.  Contact elected officials, at all levels of government, by phone or schedule a visit.  Discuss with them proposed legislation that will affect members of your community, as well as past legislation that contributes to health disparities, such as the Hyde Amendment.  Organize your own speak-out using our guide (available on the RWV website).  Bring  all the voices to the table:  we may be women, but we are also teenagers, seniors, mothers, immigrants, survivors of abuse, cancer and many other illnesses, people with disabilities, members of various religious, ethnic, racial and sexual backgrounds.  Together, we can achieve health care for all.

Visit the Raising Women’s Voices  website for video, pictures and transcripts from the event….coming soon!