Posted by: zhak39 | October 21, 2009

It’s the organ between our ears that makes us special

I have had some time to pull my tongue out of my cheek since yesterday and thought it might be a good idea to probe why health care payment reform is a women’s issue.  Senator Burr equated women’s concerns only with pregnancy and childbirth–significant times in many women’s lives certainly and in western cultures, highly medicalized.  There is more to health care payment reform that effects and can support women than this relatively infrequent incident in our lives. First, women do have distinct health care needs other than child bearing.  Some are related to our sexual organs and others to hormones, bone growth, you know, those straightforward pretty female things.  This is not to say that men can’t get breast cancer or have backaches from the funny way we primates are built.  This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and by now I think we all know that women are not the only ones who have tatas.

The issues of health care payment reform run deeper than individual’s health care.  For the record, I think that health care in this country is amazing.  We have very well trained doctors.  We have excellent medical training.  We have the best research facilities in the world.  We have superb hospitals.  We have professionals like nurse practitioners, midwives, physicians assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, every kind of therapist as well as alternative health workers like chiropracters, energy workers, massage therapists.  We got your health care.  What we don’t have is a workable way of paying for them.  And as time goes on, the system that we have developed through insurance companies becomes more unwieldy.  We are paying more and more and receiving less and less.  This is where health care payment reform must focus. So what’s the specific woman angle? More and more, women are the primary health care decision makers in families.  In ‘traditional’ two parent families women continue to be primary caretakers for children and (on the other side of life) parents to the doctor.  It is women who make decisions regarding whether or not to have that test or treat that virus or infection, whether to get a boot for the broken bone or go for the surgery.  In what is becoming an established family unit, the women led household, all the decisions are made by  the woman. As well, the number of women run small business is increasing exponentially.  And the current female entrepreneur creates a more group and family oriented than small businesses in the past.  Yet, small businesses continue to pay more for the same health insurance policies than larger firms. A severe overhaul of the health care payment system would support women’s aims.  And of men’s aims.  And of families and children and parents.  Politics central or politics aside, it is just the right thing to do.

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