By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: May 26, 2010
Maybe you’ve been in a submarine submersible for the past few months, or you’ve locked yourself in a box, or you’re just hell-bent on avoiding the media for some reason or another. Have you not heard? Well, (to fill you in) there’s an exuberant amount of time, money and effort being spent toward a certain election campaign. Election Day, Tuesday, November 2 is rapidly approaching.
As Red Hot Mamas, we have an obligation to vote for the candidate who will have our best health interests in mind. Our job is an important one. The next few weeks will serve as our crucial decision-making time. It is necessary educate ourselves as much as possible on the issues at hand in order to prepare for the imminent second day of November. Do you know what the presidential candidates are saying about issues that affect women and families’ health?
Our nation’s health care system has been scrutinized for many reasons; the cost of healthcare, the universal coverage and the quality are among the largest of our major societal concerns.
Supporters of managed care emphasize the importance of receiving treatment for health problems early. They feel this is encouraged by managed care programs because doctor visits are covered by a small “co-pay” fee. Furthermore, supporters say the system moderates wasteful spending from doctors ordering large amounts of tests to reduce the risk of malpractice suits.
On the other hand, critics say the quality of patients’ coverage is at risk. Managed care firms have been criticized for requiring patients to get the cheapest treatment regardless of who offers the ‘best medicine’. Critics accuse the firms of preventing patients from visiting specialists (who charge more than family doctors).
What sort of health care reform is being proposed? The “patients’ bill of rights” is the latest restructuring of the system. Congress is still considering national legislation. This idea would authorize managed-care patients to see a specialist if they want and give the right to appeal any HMO’s denial of coverage.
Universal coverage is another pressing concern. According to publicagenda.org (a nonpartisan opinion research organization), 2/3 of Americans get health insurance from their employer while nearly all the elderly can get coverage through the government’s Medicare program. The government’s Medicaid program offers healthcare to 40 million of the poorest Americans with strict limitations on income. According to Census Bureau statistics, people in low-wage jobs or who work for small businesses that can’t afford health benefits are left out of the government’s Medicaid program.
While the federal government is trying to control costs by limiting payments for both Medicare and Medicaid, President Bush has a different agenda. He has proposed $300 million for various plans to expand health care coverage. These plans include 1) providing medical savings accounts to encourage people to save money for their medical bills, 2) Providing prescription drug discount cards to the elderly and 3) Providing tax credits to help the uninsured buy coverage. John Kerry proposes to 1) Create a Medicare Drug Benefit that doesn’t force seniors into HMOs and 2) Cut prescription drug costs by allowing Americans to have the option of buying prescription drugs from Canada.
So, according to publicgenda.org, three main perspectives on how society could address healthcare issues are:
- Reforms should focus on containing costs. Rising costs is the main problem with the U.S. health care system
- Americans should have a universal right to health care.
- Primary concerns are with the quality of health care and the importance of ensuring the best health care possible.
Healthcare is a pressing issue and receives substantial coverage by both the media and the presidential campaigns. Medical research is credited with providing insights into longer, healthier lifespans. Public policy now faces yet another challenge with new advances in genetic research. Should researchers be allowed to tinker with our genetic codes, or create copies of human beings? Could we somehow be harming future generations by aiding sick people today? We need to concentrate our efforts toward informing ourselves with unbiased and accurate information. There are a number of websites that may help you gain perspective on health care and medical research topics. Here are some that might be of interest:
- Opinion research organization
- League of Women Voters
- The Office of Women’s
- The Office on Women’s Health (US Department of Health and Human Services)
Other important women’s issues to follow in this election are where each candidate stands on disparity in women’s healthcare; availability of sex education; insurance coverage of contraceptives; abortion; access to free preventive medicine; mental health issues; and what type of Justices would be elected to the Supreme Court, which influences every factor of our lives.
Facts About Women and Voting
- 62 percent of females between the ages of 18 and 25 did not show up for the last presidential election. (Source: US Census Bureau)
- Only 22 percent of 20- to 25-year-old women vote regularly, versus 28 percent of men in that age group. (Source: Pew Charitable Trust for People and Press)
- “Strong majorities of young people believe that having more young people (62%), more women (59%), and more people of color (55%) in office would make government & politics better.” (Source: www.voterunlead.org)
- Fewer single women than married women vote (52% compared to 68%). (Source: Women’s Voices, Women’s Vote, www.wvwv.org)
- Unmarried women comprise the largest group of unregistered and nonvoting citizens in the United States. (Source: Women’s Voices, Women’s Vote, www.wvwv.org)
- More than any other demographic group, unmarried women describe themselves as progressive, and desire a government that responds to their concerns, specifically about jobs, health care, education, and a woman’s right to choose. (Source: Women’s Voices, Women’s Vote, www.wvwv.org)
“The worldwide advancement of women’s issues is not only in keeping with the deeply held values of the American people; it is strongly in our national interest. Women’s issues affect not only women; they have profound implications for all humankind. We, as a world community, cannot even begin to tackle the array of problems and challenges confronting us without the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of life.” — U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, March 7, 2002