Why Being A Woman Shouldn’t Be A Pre-Existing Condition

I was invited to participate in a call at the White House on health care reform for women this past Tuesday. More than 700 women or advocates for reform for women participated. This is a far cry from the days of previous administrations’ vilifying people for contracting HIV or from being shut out of the process entirely. So I’ll give kudos to the Obama administration for doing this.

My desire is to see results come from this – that requires ALL of our ACTIVE participation against those that would deny us. I was waiting for the post-conference meeting minutes but decided to post from my notes. I may come back add names from the Q&A session that followed.

Women of Color United Coalition For Health Care Reform

  • National Women’s Health Network (NWHN) – Health Reform Panel with Tina Tchen, Executive Director for the White House Council on Women and Girls & Caya Lewis, Outreach Director for the HHS Office of Health Reform
  • Silvia Enrique – Nat’l Latina Inst. for Reproductive Health
  • Black Women’s Health Imperative
  • National Asian & Pacific American Women’s Forum

These different groups decided it would be in their best interest to combine their resources so that everyone’s basic needs could be addressed. This was a wonderful example of how people who may find themselves competing for the same slice of pie can work together to get a bigger piece in the end.

OF INTEREST:  National Call In Day on October 27th 877-264-4226


Healthreform – Official Government website you can join

Women of Color United

700 women and advocates for health care reform requested to participate in this call.

Women are most likely to work PT and be under-insured – if at all. Responsibility is often overwhelming (caring for others, working, etc) and mostly falls on women. [Particularly with the known stats of never-married mothers that predominates the African-American community].

Insurance companies discriminate with its practice of gender redlining female patients. Of course this is speaking of biological females – trans women are often excluded entirely.

Catastrophic events such as Domestic Violence and rape are being flagged as “risky behavior” in order to deny coverage. Last time I checked sky diving and race car driving are categorized as risky. Considering as many as 1 in 3 women being raped in their lifetimes as risky behavior not only places blame, but it furthers the patriarchal practice of men (who are running these companies and setting policies) controlling the bodies of women.

All five committees that have jurisdiction over health care (or insurance company support depending on how you look at it) have forwarded bills to be considered in both Houses.

African-Americans and Latinos have a disproportionate number of people without coverage compared to the same percentage of whites. For example more AA women die from breast cancer and it’s not due to more diagnoses but from not getting treatment soon enough. Early detection of any disease or infection greatly increases the chances of survival or recovery.

On a side note I wonder if women aren’t making sure they seek quality medical care or whether it gets pushed down the priority list because so many are overwhelmed by numerous responsibilities. To that end the forum advocates highly skilled medical professionals who are equally as culturally competent to meet the needs of their patients.

One key talking point (from Caya)

  • Health Reform = more stability, quality, affordability, an expansion of service, curtailing (if not preventing) discrimination and an increased access to service.

In my opinion it’s only considered alternative because it’s not Western-based and doesn’t require a massive Rx consumption that help Big Pharma keep their profit margins going. The discriminatory practices of the American Medical Association against Chiropractic treatment is well-known and has been allowed to flourish unchecked.

I’m sure that as more people find themselves struggling financially and see the quality of their lives further reduced under this current economic depletion the idea of underwriting insurance companies the way we were forced to do so for banks has little appeal when we’re getting no return on our investment.

So nothing has been decided about what this health plan will look like or whether it will truly be affordable. That’s where we come in. As a participant noted all the people making these decisions for us already have excellent and inexpensive coverage paid for with our tax dollars.

I am always astounded that people would make public declarations protesting “socialism” not connecting the dots that we’re already paying to provide services to other people who may be in a much better financial situation than the average citizen! Yet the government allows an FDA policy for voluntary reporting from food manufactures and producers. Not to mention how our food is loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup (which is banned in the UK & EU). Freedom and accountability are necessary but must be applied correctly.

There’s a 5-year ban for medical coverage of immigrant women under Medicare. The ban on abortion (funding) coverage and limiting a comprehensive reproductive policy is a current breaking point that could derail the process.

Jeff Crowley, Director of Office of National AIDS Policy will be holding hearings regarding HIV-AIDS related coverage and funding but programs like the Ryan White Program will continue. Gender data collection is being conducted because stats are very important when it comes to funding and addressing coverage.