Friday, June 19, 2009

Health care reform matters for women.

I heard an unbelievable statistic at our recent Rome Health Care Reform meeting—health insurance companies are claiming that 75% of Americans are satisfied with their current health insurance. I’m thinking, where are these people?? because I’ve worked in health care for many, many years and I’m not meeting those folks. The only folks I know who are satisfied with their health insurance are those with publicly funded policies, either Medicare or Medicaid.

I saw 13 patients yesterday in my Atlanta clinic for women’s health care. I was still irritated by the above statistic, so I decided to conduct my own personal survey: several women I saw had health insurance —but not one of them had an adequate insurance policy. NOT ONE woman out of thirteen was satisfied with the coverage she had. One woman succinctly summarized it with a "F#%k no!" when I asked her if she was satisfied with her health insurance policy. Two women had undergone recent abortions after they had to discontinue their pills because their pharmacy prescription coverage was inadequate. Only one of the thirteen was up-to-date getting her annual preventative health exam and Pap smear: a Pap smear appointment is just plain too expensive when one has been laid off. Preventative health care in America has become a luxury.

I got back home to our new Rome clinic tonight and the phone message light is blinking, again. Every day now at our new women’s clinic I get messages similar to this one: “I read your article (Rome Newswire, 5/18/09) about the women’s clinic. I’m 52 years old and I cain’t remember the last time I had a Pap smear, am I too old to come to your clinic? I cain’t get on Medicaid and I cain’t get on Medicare and they want a hunnerd dollars at the health department. What am I supposed to do?” Well, anyone knowing me knows how such a message really pisses me off- I called her back and assured her that yes, our clinic is for women of all ages.

But here is what I told the caller she could and should do: go to and she will see the little box that says “My Elected Officials.” She should call every one under her Zip code and ask them what she should do. Alas, like many of the people who are most affected by lack of health care-she also doesn’t have internet access. So I have a list of phone numbers waiting here for her when she comes in.

Health care reform matters for women. The National Women’s Law Center is leading the charge for quality comprehensive, affordable health care reform that meets the needs of women and their families. Please go and Sign the Pledge to Support health care reform that works for women

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