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Click below for a clear, printable copy: PF FundraiserPUBLIC(1)
Last night I was at dinner in someone’s home and the following is the abridged version of a portion of dinner conversation. I say abridged because I was so mad that one, the guest had the audacity to discuss politics in a room of people this person had never met, save one, and two I […]
The HALO Foundation Holistic Healing for Violent Crime Victims in Healthcare On Thursday, January 26, 2012 the crime that persists in the City of New Orleans shocked us again. And this time it hit very close to home. One of our own, a home health nurse, who has dedicated her life to home care service, […]
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New Nursing Home Trend Many moons ago, the only people living in nursing homes were the elderly. If your parents or grandparents needed 24 hour care, you could put them in a home where there would be nurses and aids there 24-7 to assist them. But, there’s a new trend going on( here in Louisiana for […]
So its 2012, yet there are still instances of horrific crimes against people, against nurses who are on a mission to simply tend to the sick. It happened practically a week ago – a 53 year old home health nurse was brutally gang raped in Zion City, in an abandoned house in the 1300 block […]
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The Supreme Court is gearing up to hear challenges to The Affordable Care Act soon. Access to affordable healthcare is an issue that impacts virtually every person in this country and one we should all be concerned about, whether you’re already covered under a plan or are uninsured. There are so many people in dire […]
Why this is personal; I stand with Planned Parenthood!
Congressional leaders and President Obama headed off a shutdown of the government with less than two hours to spare Friday night under a tentative budget deal that would cut $38 billion from federal spending this year. I am grateful that they figured out a way to avert government shutdown and not hurt Planned Parenthood in the process. But I AM REALISTIC; this battle is not over; this was simply the first skirmish in the war on women’s health. So I ask you to please support Planned Parenthood and women’s health issues; it has never been so needed especially in a time where there is an all out assault on women’s health. Please read the post that follows; it was written yesterday and it is my personal story on why this matters!
Friday April 8, 2011; Today I received emails from Planned Parenthood that actually make me sick; due to the stupid GOP who have decided that Planned Parenthood is a bad thing, so they plan to shut down the government and hold the Democrats and all women hostage in order to prove their point because they have decided that Planned Parenthood is ONLY about abortion. The truth could not be farther from this!
I will cite articles, but what I want to do is to relate my own experience with abortion and a woman’s right to choose. The beautiful girl that you see below in the photo is my sister Brenda; I lost her when she was twenty seven years old and the world lost a great crusader for the underdog. It is because I was lucky enough to have her in my life, that I have the strength to speak out against what the GOP is doing; it is fundamentally wrong and it has to be overturned. Here is her story (and mine.)
When Brenda was 25, she found out that she was pregnant. It should have been a moment that most women who are in love and engaged to be married would cherish; the chance to have a child with the man that they love. Instead it was a time of terror for Brenda; you see, Brenda had severe epilepsy, and she could not be taken off of the medicines that kept her safe, in order to carry a child to term, and the medicines that already caused her significant side effects would have caused severe side effects to a child. If she was taken off the anti-convulsive medicines, it was highly probable that she would have died from a seizure.
Additionally, she had a hard time taking birth control, since the pill caused her to have seizures. So after much heartache, pain, and discussion with her fiance to make her decision, she chose to have an abortion, and asked me to accompany her to Planned Parenthood in Santa Clara, California. The year was 1982, and thank goodness, we had good facilities at that time that performed safe abortions. This had NOT always been the case as I was growing up, and indeed many deaths were attributed to back street abortion clinics. When they called her back for the procedure, they had her talk to several counselors before taking her back to the room. She explained over and over why she had no choice and I could see she was getting more and more upset; why couldn’t they just understand was written across her face. Finally they began the procedure; it seemed an interminably long time, though in reality, it probably was over in less than a half hour. BUT not before, my beloved sister suffered a Grand Mal seizure; I stayed with her, never leaving her side and I tried to protect her from the seizure, and to simply be there for her. She was terrified, as she always was when she had a seizure, and once the procedure was finally over, I took her home and put her to bed where she slept for 14 hours straight. She often felt guilt about that act, but I know in my heart that she would not have survived pregnancy, and that she had made the right decision. If the GOP gets their way, the Brenda’s of the world, will have no where to turn. Please do not let this happen!
To finish my story, about two summers later, Brenda married her sweetheart in June of 1984. They began their married life together, but it was to be short-lived. On October 4, 1984, my sister had a Grand Mal seizure while driving and was killed instantly when her car ran into the piling for an overpass on Highway 101 in Santa Clara, CA.
The one thing that I know about my sister Brenda, is that she would not mind me telling you this story; indeed knowing Brenda, she would be on the picket lines in DC marching with Planned Parenthood. Please do not force women to go back to a terrible time where contraception, family planning, and abortions are difficult to obtain. Please stand with Brenda and me; we support and stand with Planned Parenthood and we believe in the rights of all women to get the medical help they need, no matter their financial situation.
Today’s (4/9/11) New York Times; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/09/us/politics/09fiscal.html?_r=1&hp
From the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/what-planned-parenthood-a… “Though the fight over Planned Parenthood might be about abortion, Planned Parenthood itself isn’t about abortion. It’s primarily about contraception and reproductive health. And if Planned Parenthood loses funding, what will mainly happen is that cancer screenings and contraception and STD testing will become less available to poorer people. Folks with more money, of course, have many other ways to receive all these services, and tend to get them elsewhere already. The fight also isn’t about cutting spending. The services Planned Parenthood provides save the federal government a lot of money. It’s somewhat cold to put it in these terms, but taxpayers end up bearing a lot of the expense for unintended pregnancies among people without the means to care for their children. The same goes for preventable cancers and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.”
From Planned Parenthood; I stand with Planned Parenthood; https://secure.ppaction.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=pp_ppol_urgent
From US Dept of Health and Human Services; http://www.hhs.gov/opa/familyplanning/index.html
From the New York Times; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/09/us/politics/09fiscal.html?_r=1&hp
Shutdown Near, No Sign of Compromise; After the nightlong negotiations that ended before dawn on Friday yielded no agreement, Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and majority leader, went on the offensive. He told reporters and said on the Senate floor that Mr. Boehner, the Senate Democrats and President Obama had essentially settled on $38 billion in cuts from current spending. But he said that Republicans were refusing to abandon a policy provision that would withhold federal financing for family planning and other health services for poor women from Planned Parenthood and other providers.“This is indefensible, and everyone should be outraged,” Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor. “The Republican House leadership have only a couple of hours to look in the mirror, snap out of it and realize how truly shameful they have been.”
Laura Bergerol is a professional photographer in New Orleans and blogs on Posterous and at Time Captured.net. Laura also was a major contributor to our Katrina Photo Project for the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This essay was cross-posted from her personal blog.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act will Hurt Women in Louisiana
The Affordable Care Act makes important advances for women’s health. The new law protects women in Louisiana from discriminatory health insurance practices, makes health coverage more affordable and easier for them to obtain, and improves access to many of the health services they need. Repealing this important law will hurt women in Louisiana by returning to the days of a health care system that did not work for women.
Insurance Industry Practices that are Harmful to Women Would Continue
In addition to the prohibition on sex discrimination in health care, the new health care law explicitly prohibits discriminatory insurance practices. These important protections will prohibit insurers from treating women like a pre-existing condition. Here are a few of the important insurance protections women will lose if the law is repealed:
A ban on gender rating for individuals and small businesses. Under the new law, by 2014 (at the latest) insurers in Louisiana would no longer be allowed to charge individual women and small employers with a predominately-female workforce more for coverage.
Prohibitions on coverage denials and exclusions for women with “pre-existing conditions” such as pregnancy; having had a C-section, breast, or cervical cancer; or having received medical treatment for domestic or sexual violence. By 2014 (at the latest) insurers in Louisiana will be required to accept all applicants for coverage regardless of their medical history, and will no longer be able to issue coverage with pre-existing condition exclusions. For children, the prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions began in September 2010.
Uninsured women in Louisiana who were uninsured due to a pre-existing condition will lose access to coverage through the pre-existing condition insurance plan – or “high-risk pool” – that is available on a temporary basis, until the new insurance rules are in effect in 2014.
A ban on lifetime and annual limits, which prohibits health plans from placing dollar limits on covered services, giving women the security of knowing that their plan benefits won’t run out when they need them the most. Lifetime limits were banned for all health plans starting in September 2010. Annual limits are also strictly regulated and will be banned entirely for all new health plans and existing group plans in 2014.
Obtaining Insurance will be Harder and More Expensive if the Affordable Care Act is Repealed.
Women in Louisiana are poorer (on average) than men and have more trouble affording health care. For instance, nearly a quarter of all women in the state report not visiting a doctor due to high costs.1 The new health care law would expand access to affordable coverage in several ways by 2014, but if the law is repealed women will lose opportunities to obtain the affordable coverage they need. For example:
Up to 97,500 uninsured, low-income women in Louisiana would not become eligible for Medicaid, which by 2014 would be expanded to those up to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL), or roughly $29,000 a year for a family of four. 2
Women would not see the benefits of a new Health Insurance Exchange that would be established in Louisiana to serve as an easy-to-use “insurance shopping center” where women can compare and choose the high-quality health plan that best fits their needs.
Approximately 176,000 women in Louisiana would not receive health insurance subsidies to help towards premiums and out-of-pocket costs of Exchange-based health plans; subsidies would be available to those with family incomes up to 400% of the FPL, or roughly $88,000 a year for a family of four. 3
Women Would Lose Coverage of Many of the Important Health Care Services They Need.
All new health plans issued on or after September 23, 2010 are required to cover recommended preventive care at no cost. Repealing the new law would mean women would lose no-cost access to important preventive screenings such as mammograms and pap smears.
Starting in 2014, health plans sold to individuals and small businesses must cover a broad range of health services. If the law is repealed, plans will not be federally required to cover many services important to women including maternity care, prescription drugs and mental health care.
There Are Many Additional Provisions of the New Law That Will Improve the Health and Well-Being of Louisiana Women and Their Families- Which Women Will Lose with Repeal.
Additional benefits of the new health care law that women will lose with repeal include (but are certainly not limited to):
Tax Credits for Small Business: Women are more likely than men to work for small businesses that don’t offer health insurance, and will benefit from the new tax credits to help small businesses provide coverage to their employees (available for the 2010 tax year), as well as unprecedented access to affordable small group health coverage through the Exchanges.
Coverage for Young Women Up to Age 26: Young women—who are more likely to be uninsured than women in any other age group—will benefit from a new rule that took effect September 2010 which allows young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance policy as a dependent until age 26. 4
Closing the Medicare Drug Coverage Gap: Older women will benefit from a provision which closes the Medicare Part D “donut hole,” or the coverage gap that currently requires seniors to spend a considerable amount out-of-pocket for prescription drugs. In 2007, 64% of the Medicare beneficiaries that were affected by the “donut hole” were women.5
New Long Term Care Insurance Options: A new national, voluntary insurance program known as CLASS will be established as early as 2011 to provide long-term services and supports to individuals with functional limitations. This program will alleviate burdens on family caregivers, who are most often women.6
Time for Nursing Moms to Express Breast Milk at Work: Nursing mothers and their infants will gain from a requirement that employers provide a reasonable break time and location to express breast milk (effective immediately).7,8
“Direct Access” to Obstetrical and Gynecological Care: As of September 2010, all new health plans are prohibited from requiring authorization or prior approval when women seek this type of health care.9
For more detailed information on how women will benefit from Affordable Care Act, visit the National Women’s Law Center website: www.nwlc.org/reformmatters
1 Kaiser Family Foundation, Putting Women’s Health Disparities on the Map (2009), http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemapreport.jsp?rep=31&cat=15
2 National Women’s Law Center calculations based on health insurance data for women ages 18-64 from the Current Population Survey’s 2008 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, using CPS Table Creator, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstc/cps_table_creator.html
3 Ibid. Includes an estimated 102,000 uninsured women and 51,000 women who currently purchase coverage from the individual health insurance market.
4 At least thirty states already have laws that extend dependent coverage to young adult children, regardless of enrollment in school. Many of these state laws are more restrictive than the new federal law, and none apply to self-insured or ERISA plans (as the federal law does). The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) provides a list of states’ dependent coverage laws at: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=14497
5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Strengthening the Health Insurance System: How Health Insurance Reform Will Help America’s Older and Senior Women, http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/seniorwomen/index.html, Last Accessed on April 26, 2010.
6 Kaiser Family Foundation, Women and Health Care: A National Profile (July 2005), http://www.kff.org/womenshealth/upload/Women-and-Health-Care-A-National-Profile-Key-Findings-from-the-Kaiser-Women-s-Health-Survey.pdf
7 This provision applies to all employers, though employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt if they demonstrate that the requirements impose an “undue hardship” on their business.
8 At least twenty-four states already have laws related to expressing breast milk in the workplace. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) provides a list of these states and summaries of their laws at: http://www.ncsl.org/IssuesResearch/Health/BreastfeedingLaws/tabid/14389/Default.aspx
9 Thirty-six states and DC already have direct access laws that managed care companies and group health plans must comply with. However, the new health reform law is broader in scope, since it requires all new health plans (i.e. for individuals and groups of all sizes, including self-insured health plans) to comply. The Kaiser Family Foundation provides a list of existing direct access laws at: http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=493&cat=10
Thanks to Carl Webb for passing this along:
The National Association of Free Clinics will be conducting a free medical clinic for the uninsured on Tuesday, August 31 and Wednesday, September 1. This will be held at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center. The purpose is to provide medical services to the uninsured, as the metro region continues to struggle post-Katrina and with the ongoing oil spill crisis.
They are in urgent need of medical and non-medical volunteers to help
staff this 2-day clinic. They especially need physicians (internists, pediatricians and family practitioners), nurses and nurse practitioners. I am writing to ask if you or any of your friends would be available to help with this. You can get the details of the event, volunteer shift times, etc. and can sign up at http://www.freeclinics.us. You can also view a video on the recent free medical clinic that was held in Washington, DC, to get a better idea of the work this great team is doing across the country here.
Dr. Ralph Freidin and his wife from Boston, MA have been organizing and running these free clinics. Dr. Freiden is a straight ally of the LGBT community, and serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the Human Rights Campaign, on the Boston Steering Committee. He contacted the New Orleans HRC Steering Committee for help in reaching out to the New Orleans metro area LGBT community to get volunteers and help spread the word.
Please consider volunteering and spread the word to your friends. We need to get the word out about this clinic to all people in our area who do not have access to medical care. This clinic will provide diagnosis and treatment for individuals as well as referrals for follow-up care.
Please let me know if you intend to volunteer, because I will forward
your name and contact info. to Dr. Freidin. Thank you so much for your consideration.
HRC New Orleans Steering Committee
HRC Board of Governors
I enjoy reading my Sunday paper – I am one of those that actually looks at the ads floating around on the inner pages, those entities hawking their goods. One particular ad caught my eye this morning – a small ad at the bottom of page A-22 beginning NULLIFY Obama Care, and below requesting a joint resolution [that the] Louisiana Legislature MUST pass now. Then underneath was the “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden flag, which I’ll bet whose creators would be appalled that today’s tea baggers have adopted as their standard bearer.
Here is the ad
So I then checked out the website and was pretty shocked at the fringe group promoting this. I went on to read the Bios and concluded that the ad is probably financed by a couple of pretty wealthy individuals, not to mention the silent supporters fueling their money train. One can only imagine what sort of freaks this would attract: just take one look at the home page and all the stars and bars floating across the page and draw your own conclusions.
Two things scary about this: Folks reading this ad, without internet connections to see what these two yahoos are all about, would contact their Louisiana legislators and demand a resolution for Louisiana to repeal health care reform. Our play-along attorney general has begun the process, but all it would take would be for a large group of constituents to contact their lawmakers demanding Louisiana opt out of healthcare. Second is that the Times Picayune is allowing entities such as this to purchase ad space – are they THAT desperate for dollars?
This is just one example of the subterfuge we are in store for over the next few months, until Baton Rouge empties on June 21 and we can take a breath from the required vigil over the lunacy that seems to transpire 65 miles upriver. Watch your newspaper and televisions closely. Write down the numbers of bills that seem completely out of whack and don’t hesitate to call, write or e-mail your representative to voice your opinion on any bill filed, easily found and tracked here.