BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Cutting Through the Noise on Health Care Reform

Posted by espressodog on August 27, 2009

The volume on the health care debate has been turned up dramatically this summer and the din is overwhelming. What is everyone talking about?insurancecoverate

The phrase ‘health care reform’ is used broadly to describe any proposal that will change the way medical care is paid for and delivered. While there is a growing consensus that change is necessary, there is not agreement on exactly what that change should be or how it should happen.

Clearly there is a lot at stake – especially for women and small businesses. Women have distinct health care needs and are the primary health care decision makers in most families. Women are more likely than men to report problems getting health care due to cost, regardless of whether they have health insurance or not. The current system is also failing small businesses which are increasingly women-owned. On average, small businesses pay up to 18 percent more than large firms for the same health insurance policy. The status quo is untenable.

premcomparisonIf everyone agrees there is a problem why is it taking so long? The answer is one part process, one part legitimate difference of opinion and one part unhelpful noise.

The legislative system developed by the Founding Fathers is designed to slow things down. The President can suggest legislation, but he cannot write it or pass it. He can use his considerable soap box to champion proposals, but he can’t make Congress pass legislation. The person who can make Congress do something is you – the constituent and voter.  Health care reform is particularly complicated because jurisdiction for the issue falls in five different committees in the House and Senate. The good news is we are farther along in the process than we have ever been – 4 of those committees have completed their work and the House is scheduled to vote on a combined bill in September. The remaining committee, Senate Finance, is still working and their negotiations are the focus of a lot of angst.

There has been a lot of misinformation about what is in the health care reform proposals.  It is important to get the facts straight.  Check out www.realitycheck.gov and the links below for more information.

President Obama has not yet specifically endorsed any of the bills working their way through Congress, but he has outlined eight principles for health reform, seeking to address not only the 45 million people who lack health insurance, but also rising health care costs and lack of quality.

This is an historic debate and it is important that we understand what we are talking about.

More Stuff to Read on Health Care Reform
Roadblocks to Healthcare: Why the Current System Does Not Work for Women (White House)
Reform Matters Toolkit (National Women’s Law Center)
10 Reasons to Support Reform (Families USA)
What Is In the Bills (Politifact)
Understanding Health Care Reform (TIME Magazine)
Side by Side Comparison of Major Health Care Proposals (Kaiser Family Foundation)


15 Responses to “Cutting Through the Noise on Health Care Reform”

  1. Susi said

    Tort reform is the key and the President and Congress aren’t talking about that because they are mostly lawyers. Reform should include only what is the least intrusive to private business and the marketplace. When the government gets involved, costs skyrocket and we all pay in the long run. All of us who are privately insured are subsidizing Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs already, and more government intervention won’t change that. Tort reform is essential; good FEMALE and male medical practicitioners get sued for things that are often not their fault, driving up costs and giving insurers an excuse to increase premiums on the insured. We would all have better equipment, drugs, and doctors at a lower cost if they all didn’t have to charge so much to cover the “1-800-BAD-DRUG”-type lawsuits.

  2. Ruth Tirri said

    Medicare and Medicaid as well as other government hospitals and programs are a mess. We need to get the current programs under control before taking on anything else.
    Name one government program that is run effectively.

  3. patricia persante said

    It is embarassing that BPW holds itself out as representing American women and yet does not recognize the majority of citizens who do not want this legislation. To encourage your readers to seek the “facts” by going to http://www.realitychecks.com which is a White House site is insulting. To say that President Obama has not endorsed any of the committee bills is to repeat what he says while he is in fact using taxpayer money (great gobs of it) to campaign for “his health care”–he speaks at length about what is and is not in the House Bill 3200 and endorses it, while saying he is not. He is advocating in the strongest terms possible that this legislation be passed now and yet you say he has not endorsed any bill. What do you think he is talking about? It would be so refreshing to see an article which actually was encouraging those interested to seek the “facts”. Go read the bill if you really want to know what is in it. Most of the truly scary things are not even being discussed by either side.

  4. Rachel Lepchitz said

    I agree with the previous poster. As someone who deeply believes in our US Constitution and what our Founding Fathers invisioned for our country, I take deep insult to the statement that the US Legislative system was created to “slow things down.” It was created to provide a system of checks and balances… or did your author miss that day in US History class? What an insult to our Founders and those of us who appreciate the system they put into place that has made America THE best country to live in. Shame on you.

  5. espressodog said

    @Rachel Lepchitz Slowing down does have to be taken so negatively. A slow process allows for contemplation, debate and the checks and balances you reference.

  6. bbk said

    I am a female; nurse ; and a veteran and I strongly oppose this socialized healthcare reform! In my humble opinion, this is not something that the American people want, however, it is something that Congress and Obama want to push through. How many of these individuals and their families are going to be on this plan? None, because they know what would be in store for them. No one can understand the bill, including members of Congress, so how will the general public that need to carry out the bill understand it? I do not want Harry Reid; Nancy Pelosi; Chris Dodd; Barney Frank or any “healthcare czar” telling me what I need and don’t need in my personal healthcare.

  7. Jolene said

    Thank you for providing factual statements about what is going on in Washington.
    The President has indeed included tort reform as part of the strategy in lowering healthcare costs. He also has not come out and blatantly endorsed any bill or version of any bill. He obviously believes in the process of democracy very strongly…even to the dismay of some “leftwingers” who wish he would make sweeping reform possible.
    There is a lot of mixing up of the goal of this reform. The current situation will blow up in our faces sooner or later due to rising cost inflation. If government doesn’t get involved in providing a much less expensive option the system will surely collapse on itself.
    The only ones who will continue to suffer is the American family and many of the women who support them…including me.

  8. egehl said

    The bottom line in this debate is that our healthcare system cannot continue in its current form. I respect the varying opinions regarding the reform proposals because this is a very personal issue that impacts everyone and we need an open, honest dialogue. However doing nothing is not an option. Too many people are uninsured and suffering physically and financially because of it, and a significant number of small employers are unable to offer insurance to cover their employees. I was at a healthcare town hall meeting yesterday and when the Senator asked who was on Medicare and liked their coverage, more than 3/4 of the room raised their hand. I find that ironic as those same people yelled out against the public plan. There is too much confusion out there and sound bites drowning out the facts. I agree that we need to seek the facts, but at the same time we must be open to new ideas and innovative ways to solve our problems. Our healthcare system will only get worse and more expensive if we do not take action. It is the number one issue facing all Americans and businesses, and the timing to do something about it is now.

  9. sherrysaunders said

    Good point about people on Medicare liking it. I guess that is a public program that is run effectively. After all many who say the government can’t run anything are also saying that we have the best government in the world. I agree and think it can run programs just as effectively and often more cost effectively than the private sector in many cases. I sure wouldn’t want to run our wars privately.

  10. joyinhome said

    Finally, some discussion!

    The point that I felt was made in this post is that a change to the healthcare system that exists today is mandatory. In addition, I read a post that is promoting people to do their own research and fact-checking rather than believing any one source. I would like to add that if citizens believe that doing nothing is an option, then you don’t understand how our weak economy will be impacted or what affect this has on rebuilding our workforce.

    The assertion that “the majority of citizens who do not want this legislation” makes me curious about what type of measurement is being used to make that statement. I do not know ANYONE who is pleased with their healthcare coverage beyond the fact that they have it. My healthcare coverage increased 20 percent last year; I have no idea what that number will be once open enrollment hits.

    I know too many mothers and parents who have gone without coverage so that they could afford coverage for their children. There are people in this country who die because they do not have any, enough and/or sufficient care. As someone pointed out, yes, this is the United States…As a nation, do we understand how dangerous and sad that is?

    As an African American woman, I will not touch the comment about what the forefathers intended- their intent for my ancestors and women is well-documented. Perhaps someone else missed history class…

  11. JudiB. said:

    I spent last weekend doing research on two alternative health freedom advocate websites – both giving interesting info and a second side to the reform needed in healthcare. Our freedoms, including our health freedoms are being threatened by government proposals. Find out how & why?

    I believe as these two health freedom advocates do, that what we need is a system based on wellness, not on disease. Check out my health & wellness blog at “http://judib.wordpress.com for a look at the other viewpoint.

    The websites and advocates referenced above are Mike Adams, The Health Ranger, whose website article on “The Ten Things Missing from Obama’s Health Care Reform Rebate” is at http://wwwNaturalNews.com/026887. His cooperative alternative health proposal reform is spelled out & explained on http://www,HealthRevolutionPetition.org. View the petition on the website, SHARE IT with others & judge for yourself whether to become part of the 100,000 signatures needed to submit this sensible alternative to Congress.

    The second site is http://www.HealthFreedomUSA.org, the website sponsored by The Natural Solutions Foundation and Dr. R. Laibow. Both are worth looking into to see the Health Reform problem and possible solutions from a viewpoint other than the White House & President Obama’s proposals.

  12. Increasing numbers of chlamydia infections have made it the most widespread STD in the USA. In 1997 there were 537,904 reported diagnoses, corresponding to a rate of 205.5 per 100,000 population. However, by 2007 the annual total had more than doubled to 1,108,374 and the rate per 100,000 had risen to 370.2.

  13. […] 5. Cutting Through the Noise on Health Care Reform […]

  14. Health Care in America, is like a Russian Bread Line.

  15. Tatum said

    I worry about the Healthcare Law. Will it have bad reprocussions to my parents expenses? Do the improvements to healthcare outweigh the bad aspects?

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