Health Care Reform and Woman’s Health Care

What Can Women Expect, What Should We Demand

With so much spit and fury churning around the Heath Care reform process, it is understandable that most Americans just want to tune out the debate. Every time I tune in, I’m reminded of cartoon images of swirling dust, fisticuffs, and scripted code for swear words. The various sides of the process seem more inclined to call each other pejoratives that have no place in a national discussion then reach a consensus. The founders of the Republic were inordinately protective of the right of vigorous public debate; I’m just not sure what they’d say about this particular public debate. Health Care reform, or Health Insurance reform depending on the poll-numbers of the day, is too important an issue to be left to the devises of a Congress being carpet bombed with special interest cash. There is a huge dichotomy about what is being said about the proposed reform initiative and what is actually written in H.R.3200 – America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.

I have spent the past weeks researching H.R.3200. Aside from coming to the conclusion the bill could be sub-titled, ‘the lawyers perpetual employment act’, I came away concerned about how the intended legislation would be interpreted and regulated. Frankly, there are some sections that just don’t make sense. I’d love to know who actually wrote the H.R. 3200…I think those persons, known and unknown did more harm than good concerning health care reform.

The health care reform issues that concern me are how H.R. 3200 or other versions of health care reform plans being floated, would effect women’s access to health care and what, if any, constraints would be placed on the patient healthcare provider relationship. I want details about the continued availability of woman-centered services — women caring for other women. Will government managed health care be able to foster an environment were women who are the subject of care, and were treated as partners and active participants in their personal care.

How will information about contraception and gynecology (and in some cases, abortion), and education focused on women’s bodies and health beyond reproductive issues be handled? Is there something in this new process that will focus on helping women demystifying medical processes by empowering women through education; providing services that are women centered and accessible to a variety of women, and advocating for women and women’s health issues.

As I was following a supplemental research trail, I came across this 2007 Gender Society paper. It is an enlightening read and gives women a starting point in the current health debate — the complete paper is available for download click here.

Feminism And Profit In American Hospitals
The Corporate Construction of Women’s Health Centers
By Jan E. Thomas, Kenyon College And Mary K. Zimmerman, University Of Kansas

This paper provides a critical analysis of the evolution and impact of hospital-sponsored women’s health centers. Using original data gathered from interviews, participant observation, and content analysis of documents and brochures, the authors describe the development of four models of hospital-sponsored women’s health centers and illustrate three specific mechanisms of the co-optation process. They show how many elements of feminist Health care was used for the purpose of marketing and revenue production rather than for empowering women and transforming the delivery of care. Following Stratigaki’s notion of negative counter affect, the authors show how the key feminist concepts of women-centered care and empowerment ended up contradicting their original meaning and purpose. Rather than being the subject of care, women became the object of treatment and revenue production.


Author: H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik

I started the Inconvenient Woman Blog in 2007, and am the product of a long line of inconvenient women. The matriarchal line is French-Canadian, Roman Catholic, with a very feisty Irish great-grandmother thrown in for sheer bloody mindedness. I am a research analyst and author who has made her living studying technical data, and developing articles, training materials, books and web content. Tracking through statistical data, and oblique cross-references to find the relevant connections that identifies a problem, or explains a path of action, is my passion. I love clearly delineating the magic questions of knowledge: Who, What, Why, When, Where and for How Much, Paid to Whom. My life lessons: listen carefully, question with boldness, and personally verify the answers. I look at America through the appreciative eyes of an immigrant, and an amateur historian; the popular and political culture is a ceaseless fascination. I have no impressive initials after my name. I’m merely an observer and a chronicler, an inconvenient woman who asks questions, and sometimes encourages others to look at things differently.