20 October 2009

Ms. Foundation Health Care Grantees On the Move

Ms. Foundation grantees Raising Women's Voices and the Women of Color United for Health Reform continue to work collectively to mobilize women nationwide on behalf of health care reform and lift up women's support and solutions for change in Washington, D.C. and at rallies, town halls and on airwaves across the U.S. These two groups received support from the Ms. Foundation in August for a last-minute push to ensure the voices of women--especially low-income women and women of color--are amplified in the health care debate.

Today, in an unprecedented call organized by Women of Color United (a coalition headed up by the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and the Black Women's Health Imperative), over 400 women of color activists discussed the need for just and inclusive reform in a conversation with Tina Tchen, Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison and Executive Director for the White House Council on Women and Girls and Caya Lewis, Outreach Director for the Health and Human Services Office of Health Reform and Former Health Staffer for Senator Edward Kennedy.

Recently, RWV co-founder Lois Uttley did a series of interviews with radio stations around the country on stations like WBAI in New York City; WHON in Richmond, Indiana; WIZM in La Crosse, Wisconsin; WGCV in Columbia, South Carolina; KXCI in Tucson, Arizona; KSFR in Santa Fe, NM; and on the Bev Smith show which airs in major cities nationwide. Last week, Women of Color United organized 28 activists in eight key states (AK, AR, FL, IN, ME, NC, ND, SD) to help place op-eds in their local papers.

Both groups have just released valuable new resources. Women of Color United issued "Health Reform Imperatives for Women and Communities of Color" and a fact sheet about women of color and the need for reform. RWV issued "What Women Want vs. What Women Get," a quick and easy analysis of the health care bills on the table and eight straightforward talking points for key improvements. The talking points are below and online [pdf]; there's also a longer version [pdf] with more detail -- check them out, pass them along, and RAISE YOUR VOICE for just and inclusive health care reform!

Raising Women's Voices
From Our Kitchen Table
What Women Want: The Health Reform Edition

1. Health coverage should start at birth and end at death, with no interruptions. We shouldn’t lose it when we change jobs, get divorced or move from one state to another.

2. Make it affordable. Use a sliding scale. Everybody should pay something, but some of us can pay more than others. Offer subsidies for those who can’t pay very much.

3. Make it fair. Don’t charge women more than men. Don’t let insurance companies refuse to cover people because they have diabetes, cancer, asthma or any other “pre-existing condition.”

4. Make it simple. Tell insurance companies to stop tricking us into buying policies that don’t cover the care we need. There should be no hidden clauses or surprises.

5. Make it better. Give us the high quality care that this country is capable of delivering, instead of extra tests and unneeded services that feed the bottom-line for drug companies or for-profit hospitals and medical systems at our expense. And fix the system so that poor people, people of color, people with disabilities and LGBT people get high quality care too.

6. Keep politics, politicians and ideology out of the decisions about which benefits should be included. This is health care, people!

7. Cover everybody! Stop arguing about whether we should cover undocumented immigrants or force legal immigrants to wait five years to be eligible. If they are living here as our neighbors, we want them to be healthy. Fixing the immigration system is a separate issue.

8. This should be a wellness system, not a sickness system. Sure, we want to have medical care when we get sick, but better preventive care and stronger public health measures in our own communities can help us stay healthy.

Learn more and find out how to add your voice to the debate on the Raising Women's Voices and Women of Color United websites.

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