Raising Women’s Voices

Nebraska’s Abortion Debate

Posted in Maternity Care, Reproductive Health Care, Sexual health, Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on April 15, 2009

Nebraska’s Legislature Judiciary Committee voted 6-0 to pass legislation that    would require doctors to show women seeking abortions to an ultrasound of the fetus one hour prior to the performing the procedure.  The bill is now set to move to Nebraska’s full legislature for a vote.  The bill passed by the Judiciary Committee states that the woman must look at the monitor to view the image, while the full legislature will consider alternate language that may allow women the choice to avert their eyes.  According to The National Partnership for Women and Families, another amendment called for by Senator Kent Rogert (D),  removed legislative language that would require doctors to inform women that the procedure places them at risk for psychological trauma.

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!

Loss of Dashle Blow to Health Reform? He Doesn’t Think So…

Posted in DC Reform, State Reform by raisingwomensvoices on March 20, 2009

“When I withdrew from consideration to be secretary of health and human services, some pundits said health reform had received a devastating blow. While it would be flattering for me to believe that, it would also be completely wrong…the biggest error those pundits made was in thinking that the debate over health-care reform would be decided by who occupies certain positions in Washington. It won’t. It will be decided by the American people. And at the Forum on Health Reform, those voices were finally heard,” says former HHS Nominee Thomas Daschle.

The former South Dakota Senator reports that while it may be flattering to hear that his withdrawal is a serious blow  to health care reform in this country, he believes that there are many advocates and reformers in Washington that are able to achieve change.  Furthermore, Daschle notes that with a President who believes “Health-care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year” , a committed HHS nominee  Gov. Kathleen Sebelius , White House Office of Health Reform head Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, Republicans who support health reform and allies from the pharmaceutical lobbyists, not to mention the thousands of Americans who have already voiced their concerns, health reform has many staunch supporters.

Does Public Health Insurance Mean Lower Costs and Higher Quailty Care?

Posted in Affordability, Health Reform Policy Proposals, Insurance companies, Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on February 6, 2009

According to the report released yesterday by the Institute for America’s Future, yes! The report shows that public plans are much better at controlling costs and health care spending than private plans by highlighting the cost savings of Medicare. The report proposed that a new plan should be created, similar to that of Medicare, but available to those under the age of 65. In the past 25 years, Medicare has been able to control costs better than private plans have. Public plans also offer better quality of care, as they are less likely to pass financial increases along to employers and more likely to invest in preventative services. In other words, public plans appear to have more of an incentive to improve the quality of care in order to reduce costs. Public plans were also found to have lower administrative costs, stronger bargaining power, more choices for consumers and increased provider accountability. The health insurance industry and many Republicans in Congress oppose allowing competition between private plans and public plans managed by the federal government. Read the full report!

Senators Baucus and Kennedy To Obama: We Need Health Care Reform in 2009!

Posted in Affordability, Health Reform Policy Proposals by raisingwomensvoices on February 6, 2009

As the numbers of uninsured rise, the cost of health care grows and access remains limited, Senators call for urgent action on health care reform this year.

Although the health reform effort no longer has Tom Daschle, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) have conveyed to President Obama that they remain committed to the cause. Both Senators noted that it a ‘moral duty’ to provide all Americans with health care and contain the escalating costs of that care. Baucus and Kennedy are pushing for health care reform in 2009, while others believe that the likelihood of such reform may not occur until 2010 or later.

Capitol Hill Watch | Lawmakers, American Indian Health Officials Call For Budget Increase To Indian Health Service’s Contracting Program

Posted in Affordability, Health Disparities by raisingwomensvoices on July 21, 2008

Inadequate funding to the annual budget for the Indian Health Service‘s Contract Health Service program is restricting access to essential health care services for American Indian patients, lawmakers and witnesses said on Thursday at a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing, CQ HealthBeat reports.

The CHS program purchases health care services from non-IHS providers for IHS beneficiaries when care from an IHS facility is not available. Committee Chair Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and witnesses, which included state health care administrators and tribal health care officials, said the current budget of $579 million for the CHS program should be more than doubled to $1.3 billion. Dorgan said, “We must fully fund, we must adequately fund and we must make Contract Health Service work.”

read_more: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=53009