Courageous Statements, Respect for Women’s Health at White House Health Care Summit

Yesterday, President Obama made the
audacious statement that we would reform the health care system in
America this year. At what the President rightfully called the "hottest
ticket in town," a truly remarkable group of what Washington likes to
call stakeholders came together at the White House Health Care Summit
to ponder the seemingly intractable issue of reforming the nation’s
health care system. Under the steady gaze of portraits of George
Washington and Teddy Roosevelt, 150 health care providers, industry
reps, advocates and members of Congress took the first step, together,
to discuss the hopes and dreams of the American people to have a health
care system that ensures that everyone has access to quality,
affordable care.

Planned Parenthood
is the largest provider of women’s reproductive health care in the
country, providing preventative health care to more than three million
patients through a network of nearly 880 health care centers.
Ninety-seven percent of the services we provide are preventive, ranging
from cancer screenings to providing the HPV vaccine and contraception.

And, in these difficult economic times,
Planned Parenthood health centers are seeing more women entering our
doors. Our Northern California affiliate has had a 21 percent increase
due to women losing their jobs and health benefits. Planned Parenthood
of East Central Iowa now signs up five or six new patients each day
when it used to sign up that many in a week. A recent article in US News and World Report sheds
light on the impact that the economic downturn has had on women’s
health. The article reports that many people who have lost their health
insurance have been "swarming into Planned Parenthood clinics to get
free or subsidized contraception."

Yesterday, in a break-out session moderated by the White House Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes, I was thrilled to be asked the first question about how,
as a health care provider, Planned Parenthood sees the need to reform
health care. To me, it was a signal that this president was serious
about making women’s health a priority. I took the opportunity to try
and shed some light on what women in this country need to strengthen
their health and the health of their families:

  • Women need preventative care, including access to affordable and comprehensive family planning and reproductive health care.
    Women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health
    care costs than men, in part because of reproductive health-related
    needs and services. What does this tell us? It’s pretty simple – if we
    as a nation are serious about controlling costs and increasing access,
    we need to address the real health needs of women. Women need
    affordable contraception, cancer screenings, prenatal care when
    pregnant and, with at least one in four teenage girls contracting a
    sexually transmitted infection, screenings and comprehensive
    educational to prevent STIs. Planned Parenthood screens nearly one
    million women each year for cervical cancer, conducts 850,000 breast
    exams in addition to the family planning and prenatal care we provide
    to ensure health families.
  • Increasing health care coverage will not work if we don’t also increase access.
    We applaud the president for the action he took earlier this week to
    use some of the economic stimulus money to fund community health
    centers. That’s an important first step. But there’s still a long way
    to go in addressing the provider shortage crisis faced by low income
    women. In Massachusetts where they enacted universal coverage, women
    have to wait 44 days to get an appointment for family planning
    services. As we move forward, we must build a strong infrastructure
    that includes support for women’s primary care providers including
    family planning health centers. For millions of women, Planned
    Parenthood clinics are their entry point for care. We provide access to
    a health care system that they often feel is out of reach, particularly
    as they search for affordable, trusted care. Our nation needs a network
    of family planning providers that care for low-income clients.
  • And we must recognize that government can’t do it alone. We
    need to empower women and their families to make informed decisions
    about their health care needs. At Planned Parenthood, we’ve been
    fighting to ensure that women have access to comprehensive information
    about their health care.

In the closing session, the president
addressed head on the elephant in the room – health care reform has
been tried time and time before and failed. And, with the economic woes
plaguing the nation, can we really afford to spend time on such a
difficult challenge?

And the overwhelming response was
deafening – we simply can’t afford not to act, especially in light of
these devastating economic times. Failure to act is no longer an

Senator Whitehouse from Rhode Island
captured the feeling in the room, saying that in the last go around of
health care reform, it was Harry and Louise. But this time, it’s more
like Thelma and Louise, headed over the Grand Canyon. And as President
Obama aptly noted, this time, we’re not going there. Working together,
we can succeed.

Yesterday was an incredible beginning –
and by all accounts we are moving fast. On behalf of the 1 in 4 women
in America who have been to our health centers, Planned Parenthood is
glad to be not only along for the ride, but a willing and able driver
to victory for desperately needed reform. We are proud to have a
president who has made women’s health a priority.

Cross posted on Huffington Post.

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    Finally, the time has arrived to fix Americas Healthcare crisis, and Americas healthcare knightmare. Hundreds of thousands of you are killed needlessly every year by your healthcare delivery system in a rush to profit. And because of a rush to profit Hundreds of thousands more of you are needlessly dying from treatable illness that people in other developed and civilized countries don’t DIE! from. Rich, middle class, and poor alike. Insured, and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies.

    Additionally, thousands more of you are driven into financial ruin, and bankruptcy just because you, or one of your loved ones got sick or injured. And all of this is happening at a time when America spends twice as much of it’s GDP (Gross Domestic Productivity) on health care than any other country in the developed world. Individual Americans spend about ten times as much on health care as any other people in the developed world. This is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. AND IT MUST END!

    But before we can truly fix this healthcare crisis and disgrace, everyone needs to clearly understand what the problem is. And everyone needs to clearly understand the real enormity of the problem. The problem is that HEALTHCARE AND MEDICAL DELIVERY IN AMERICA IS SEVERELY CORRUPTED AND COMPROMISED BY GREED! AND THE PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MOTIVE. And it is corrupted, and compromised IN EVERY ASPECT, AND EVERY PLACE OF HEALTHCARE AND MEDICAL DELIVERY. Unfortunately for all Americans, compromised healthcare ALWAYS results in needless suffering, injury, disability, and or death. Which is exactly what is happening now in America in shocking numbers.

    Health care is NOT! a private for profit business. Healthcare is an essential public service. Like police, and fire. And healthcare is also a human right! PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTHCARE IS AN OXYMORON, AND AN IMMORAL AND UNETHICAL PERVERSION OF HEALTHCARE AND HUMAN RIGHTS.

    So how do we fix this healthcare disgrace? I believe the fix for Americas healthcare disaster is essentially the same thing that every other developed country in the World has essentially done. “NOT FOR PROFIT, TAX PAYER SUPPORTED, SINGLE PAYER, AUTOMATIC, FREE UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE FOR ALL. Essentially HR676 (enhanced, and expanded medicare for all). Just like every other CIVILIZED! country in the developed World has. There is no other way to truly fix and reform our current disastrous healthcare delivery system.

    All Universal health care systems work best when everyone participates. But I know that the healthcare lobby, and some politicians will try and undermine “Not For Profit, Tax payer supported, Single payer, Automatic, Free Universal Healthcare for all” by falsely claiming that it will limit your choice, and require you to participate.

    So, I propose that everyone be included in the national plan unless they choose to opt out. If you opt out and need medical care the national plan will insure your provider that they will be reimbursed under the rules for members in the national plan. But those who opted out, and their insurer will be responsible for the FULL! cost to the national plan for providing your care if you or your private insurer fails to reimburse the provider or the national plan in a timely manor to at least the standards of the national plan.

    Including reporting you to credit agencies, withholding of taxes, leans, and garnishment of wages for unpaid medical bills. Just like you have now under private for profit healthcare, and private for profit health insurance.

    Further, people who opted out will be required to provide proof of financial responsibility for future illness or be required to participate in the national plan. And everyone with children will be required to participate in the national plan. Or provide proof of insurance coverage on each child to the standards of the national plan. It will be against the law to report anyone in the national plan to a credit agency for unpaid medical bills.

    Frankly, only a dope would want to opt out of the national plan and opt to keep our current disastrous private for profit medical, and insurance plans. But they will be free to choose. The most important thing is that the vast majority of Americans that want the protection, benefits, and higher quality of a universal national plan have that choice.

    You see, one of the most important aspects of a universal healthcare system is easy access, and patient protection. This is accomplished by having a single payer without a conflict of interest in patient care. And by having a payer who has the power to enforce minimum standards of excellence in healthcare delivery for everyone in the plan. This is much of what Medicare does now for senors. “Aeger Primo” (The patient first). Unfortunately in our healthcare system the patient comes last. We are just a peace of meat to them. Cash cows to be slaughtered for profit.

    So this is IT! my fellow Americans, My fellow human beings, My fellow World Citizens. And my fellow Cyber Warriors. :-) The time has come. D day. H hour. HEALTHCARE REFORM THIS YEAR! Let no one stand in our way. Contact your representative and tell them you want “Not For Profit, Tax Payer Supported, Single Payer, Automatic, Free Universal healthcare for all. And tell them you want that choice now. Tell them you want President Obama’s budget passed as is, without delay. President Obama’s budget is brilliant. And exactly what is needed now.

    President Obama, and his allies will need all the support you can give them. The healthcare lobby will try to take out his people if they can, like they did with Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer. And they will try to neutralize President Obama’s popularity, and political power. Or they will try to take him down someway. Don’t stand for it. If they attack him. Go after them ten times harder and remove them from office. We had an election. And you the people chose President Obama’s leadership, and change agenda. Let no one in government disrespect the will of the American people and remain in office.

    To President Obama, his Cabinet, the Congress of the United States, and the Supreme Court. I have noticed for some time a disturbing tendency for key members of your bodies to come down with illness, or medical problems at critical legislative times. This may just be coincidence. But I can tell you that there are a million subtle ways to medically injure someone just by doing nothing when something needs to be done. Or by doing things to someone when nothing needs to be done except to give them reassurance. I know for a fact that there are those that would have no qualms about hurting any of you to preserve our current disgraceful medical status quo.

    So, I recommend as a matter of national security that you enlist the help of a friendly power to regularly review, and oversee the medical care you receive from your local regular healthcare providers. Briton, France and many other countries have excellent medical providers. As well as Canada. Briton, and Canada may be less of a language barrier for Americans.

    Let’s get this healthcare reform done now my fellow Americans. This year. Take no prisoners.

    God Bless All Of You

    Jack Smith — Working Class :-)