Forty prominent groups concerned with women’s health have written a letter of complaint to the new administration. The recipients include President Trump, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tom Price, White House aide Ivanka Trump. The letter has criticized each of the major changes that the present administration has either enacted or proposed, for example replacing Obamacare, cutting funds to Medicaid, reducing access to women's healthcare by shutting down Planned Parenthood as well as the "global gag rule”, also known as the “ Mexico City policy” which prevents international organizations who offer abortion as part of their services from receiving any US funds. The letter further alleges that women's healthcare needs have been traded for political benefit. The letter went out during Women's Health Week to call attention to the issues. In order to begin addressing these concerns, Ivanka Trump has begun meeting with various groups concerned with women’s health, including female Democratic leaders.
Imposition of the global gag rule may cut off millions in funding to combat other conditions like HIV/AIDS and malaria, leading to a global health crisis.
In a move long opposed by Republicans, the Trump administration’s budget proposal will include 6 weeks of paid family leave for both mothers and fathers.
Texas is still trying deal with having shot itself in the foot. Texas took a stand against abortion and removed Planned Parenthood from their Federal Funding recipients. By doing so under the Obama administration, they lost their Federal funding for the Texas Medicaid Women’s Health Program. Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate of all the States, and a very high percentage of uninsured people. They want their Federal funds back.
Health insurance is not just about a single subscriber, or even a single family. It is a funding pool that we agree to make together, that lets us all have predictable manageable health expenses, even if something really bad and expensive should happen. It also is a way for everyone in society to help safeguard the future, by contributing to the care of the next generation. This is done by contributing to a pool that pays for the care of women and children. This elementary and beneficial concept behind health insurance seems to have escaped Republican Rod Blum from Iowa who believes men do not need to contribute to an insurance pool which covers pregnancy. He was jeered off the stage in a town hall meeting.
And now for a piece of news that cinches the connection between policy and health care. Research presented at the annual meeting of ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) has shown that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) under Obama led many pregnant women to get prenatal care earlier and that led to better perinatal outcomes. Of course this is in jeopardy now.
Researchers with the American Cancer Society have presenting new findings indicating that increased access to care under the ACA led to early detection of some cancers. These included breast, colon and lung cancers. Early diagnosis leads to more cures and longer survival. The biggest changes occurred in states with significant Medicaid expansions. These gains too are in jeopardy.
A recent study has shown that women under fifty doubled their survival time in recent years. I suspect mammograms played a role in this. There is controversy on when mammograms should start: 40 versus 50. ACOG recommends 40. So do breast cancer survivors under 50. Cancer patients over 50 also saw increased survivals, but not quite so dramatic.
The World Heath Organization has presented the shocking news that pregnancy complications are the leading cause of death for teenage girls worldwide. The biggest causes were hemorrhage, complications from abortion, and obstructed labor.
Lancet, one of the world’s premier medical journals produced research on “ Amenable Mortality”. “Amenable Mortality means deaths that could’ve been avoided through timely or effective medical care. American scores 80 on the heal care quality index (HAQ) and that is at the bottom on the second decile, on a par with Estonia and Montenegro.