Live from London
This afternoon, Rick Santorum announced that he was suspending his presidential campaign.
The decision appeared to be sparked by his three year-old daughter’s need for medical attention. She suffers a rare genetic disorder, Trisomy 18, which has low odds for survival. The Washington Post reports that close to 60 percent of babies born with the condition die before leaving the hospital.
So the question is, why is Santorum so anti-health care reform? I am sure, lack of insurance is not an issue for the Santorum family (but then again, maybe it has been after having to deal with Trisomy 18). In the least, you would think that having had this experience, Santorum would be able to empathize with parents who have children with special health care needs that are struggling to either get insurance or pay medical bills.
According to the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, in 2009/10 it was estimated that 15.1 % of children under 18 have special health care needs, and 9.3% went one or more periods throughout the year without insurance. Additionally, it was reported that another 34.3% of children with special health care needs had inadequate insurance. Being uninsured or underinsured is dangerous for anyone, but as you can imagine, this is even more critical for those with special health care needs.
The ACA is ensuring that children won’t be denied insurance for pre-existing conditions (this goes for adults beginning in 2014). The ACA will ensure affordable insurance options, if not through your employer, than through an exchange, or Medicaid. Additionally, Medicaid, the public health insurance program that Republicans would love to turn into a block grant program, provides insurance to approximately 35% of children with special health care needs. Without this extra coverage from Medicaid, many families would suffer catastrophic financial ruin.
So I still don’t get all the opposition to health reform, especially from those with personal experiences such as Santorum’s. Out of all the issues, the incessant opposition to President Obama’s health care reform, merely because it is the President’s hallmark legislation, seems to go against his own interest, not to mention the interests of the working class families Santorum claimed to represent.
Let’s hope his campaign suspension gives him some more time to ponder this.
The topic, er rather, frustration, is one raised by academics and activists for decades, and of course by women going about their daily lives. The impetus for Ashley Judd’s Monday article in the Daily Beast is unfortunate, but it is refreshing to read such a powerful piece from someone in the entertainment industry. While all women are subject to ongoing critiques of their appearance, women in the entertainment industry are especially vulnerable as it is now considered to be part of their job. Drawing on an incident where Judd was condemned for how she looked in a particular movies scene, she notes that looks have even surpassed concerns for acting ability.
Sounding like a learned gender studies student, Judd discusses how patriarchy is a system of oppression that requires both women and men to buy into it, in order to have an efficacy. Judd emphasizes this point by noting that many of the people who have engaged in the media speculation of whether she has had “work” done are women, professional friends to boot.
Judd wanted her piece to be a conversation starter, and to be clear, not more nonsense or distractions about her or the looks of any other women. Rather, she asks why we continue to be so caught up with these things as a society, and for us to recognize the negative impact it has on the worth of all women. So, let’s start the conversation, what are your thoughts on some of the questions she posed below:
How can we as individuals in our private lives make adjustments that support us in shedding unconscious actions, internalized beliefs, and fears about our worthiness, that perpetuate such meanness?
What can we do as families, as groups of friends?
Is what girls and women can do different from what boys and men can do?
What does this have to do with how women are treated in the workplace?
I look forward to a constructive dialogue!
There’s a petition to get her job back. I signed, please consider doing so too.
I think it is no coincidence that the 2nd anniversary of the ACA coincides with the celebration of Women’s History Month. Women have made numerous contributions to society that throughout the ages have received little attention, not unlike the valuable protections afforded to women by the ACA that often go unacknowledged. Yet, neither are Women’s History Month or the anniversary of the ACA a time for sullen faces; let us celebrate all that we have achieved!
Prevention & Wellness Benefits: Beginning in 2014, co-payments will no longer be required for well women visits, contraception, or maternity care in the individual market. These benefits take into account the health of both women that do not wish to conceive and those that are planning a healthy childbirth. That is something we can all be proud of, planned parenthood!
In addition, Essential Health Benefits (EHB) must be offered to all enrollees in the Exchanges as well as in non-grandfathered small group and individual plans. EHB includes 10 categories of services including substance abuse, mental health services, and prescription drugs. These are services that too many Americans go without, and their inclusion speaks to the administration’s acknowledgement of health as being about more than just the physical.
Affordability: Beginning in 2014, women, finally, cannot be charged higher premiums than men for the same health insurance policy. Given that women already face a number of financial difficulties, including lower wages for equal work, the prohibition for insurance companies to charge women higher premiums for being, well, women, is an huge step in the right direction!
Moreover, many uninsured adults will benefit from the expansion of Medicaid eligibility up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Again, this is pretty colossal! Medicaid covers about one-third of the nation’s children, as either a primary or secondary insurer. Yet, most states do not even cover parents up to the poverty line. Children need healthy moms (and dads, of course), so let’s celebrate this healthy step benefitting kids and parents!
Still, those that are not eligible for Medicaid, but have income between 133% up to 400% of FPL and do not have access to affordable employer- sponsored insurance will be provided tax credits to offset the cost of obtaining insurance in the Exchanges.
Guaranteed Coverage: No longer can consumers be denied coverage due to preexisting conditions, or denied a policy renewal as a result of health status. We’ve heard the horror stories (however rare some may be), and that means that one abnormal pap cannot be counted against you.
Also, as of the fall of 2010, young adults up to age 26 are eligible to stay on their parents private insurance plan. This has been a boon, both for those without access to affordable employer coverage, and as an alternative to the student health plans, often lacking in benefits.
While some of these benefits are specific to women, many stand to benefit everyone’s access to health. So you see, it is true; when women win, we all win!!
Note: Tara Mancini is co-chair of WIN’s Women’s Health Policy Network. Excerpts from this blog were previously published in the March newsletter. All opinions expressed above are the author’s alone.
On Kony 2012: The Visible Victims Speak: Considering that Kony 2012 — the most viral video in Internet history — exploits the suffering of northern Ugandans to raise money, Victor Ochen, a victim of the Lord’s Resistance Army and a founder of the nonprofit African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET), thought it only right that they should get to see it too.
Ochen traveled to the city of Lira, where he and his NGO set up a makeshift outdoor theater so locals could watch Invisible Children’s much-discussed fundraising campaign, and decide for themselves if it helps or hurts.
According to a statement released by AYINET, over 35,000 people attended the screening, many of whom rode in on bikes from neighboring villages. Additionally, some two million northern Uganda residents tuned in to a live broadcast of the audio aired simultaneously on five FM radio stations.
Al Jazeera reporter Malcolm Webb, who was on hand to gauge people’s reactions, filed the following account:
People I spoke to anticipated seeing a video that showed the world the terrible atrocities that they had suffered during the conflict, and the ongoing struggles they still face trying to rebuild their lives after two lost decades.
The audience was at first puzzled to see the narrative lead by an American man – Jason Russell – and his young son.
Towards the end of the film, the mood turned more to anger at what many people saw as a foreign, inaccurate account that belittled and commercialised their suffering, as the film promotes Kony bracelets and other fundraising merchandise, with the aim of making Kony infamous.
A woman Webb spoke with afterwards compared IC’s approach of selling products with Kony’s image to “selling Osama Bin Laden paraphernalia post 9/11,” which she felt would be offensive to many Americans, irrespective of how “well-intentioned” the fundraising campaign was.
Last night’s screening was AYINET’s first and last. It announced this morning that it had suspended further screenings of Kony 2012 in light of the outrage it caused. Wrote Ochen: “It was very hurtful for victims and their families to see posters, bracelets and t-shirts, all looking like a slick marketing campaign, promoting the person most responsible for their shattered lives.”
“Why give such criminals celebrity status?” asked people in attendance, according to AYINET. “Why not make the plight of the victims and the war-ravaged communities, people whose sufferings are real and visible, the focus of a campaign to help?”
Quite interesting to see how this campaign unfolds in the eyes of those that were actually affected. I agree with the interviewee, Kony 2012 is akin to another county starting an OBL campaign here, before his capture.
HHS Secretary Sebelius’ decision to go against a scientifically informed decision from the FDA is illogical using her own reasoning. Her argument that “It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age,” is exactly the reason the drug should be made available. Young men and women often engage in behavior they shouldn’t. While we can debate whether they should be engaging in sexual acts, but the main point here is if they are, are they doing it safely. The answer is, many of them are not. So do we want these young women to correct the issue immediately, or possibly three months later when there are more implications to be had?
[image description: Black and white photo of a little girl huddled in a corner, hands over ears. Beside her is a silhouette of a man, presumably telling at her. Text reads: “Did you know? / Children exposed to family violence show the same pattern of activity in their brains as soldiers exposed to combat. / did-you-kno.tumblr.com”.]
Domestic violence is an issue for everyone, not just women.
House Republicans approved an egregious measure last week that would shrink access to abortion to the point of endangering women’s lives.