G-Spots and Sore Spots
West Virginia established a state health insurance exchange, preparing the state for some of the biggest improvements of health reform that will go into effect through the state exchanges in 2014. Progressive health reform advocates successfully defeated anti-choice efforts to amend the exchange legislation by imposing new restrictions on abortion funding.
Sore Spot turned G-Spot! January’s WHA included a Sore Spot about the prevalence of anti-choice “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” (CPCs) that use unacceptable tactics and provide misinformation to deter pregnant women from seeking abortion. In a 39-9 vote, the New York City Council passed a bill to increase transparency around women's health services, specifically CPCs. The law, which was implemented in March and is being appealed by anti-choice groups, seeks to ensure women receive medically accurate and complete information instead of misinformation designed to prevent abortion.
Want to know if your doctor is getting money from Big Pharma? A new database provides the most accessible accounting yet of pharmaceutical payments to providers for speaking, consulting or other activities. As reported by ProPublica, since 2009, over 17,000 health care professionals (mostly doctors) have received funds totaling at least $320 million from drug companies. Drug companies have long kept the details of these payments secret; now, as part of health care reform, they have to start revealing this information by 2013. Eight companies have already released their data, which is analyzed at http://projects.propublica.org/docdollars.
This isn’t what we mean by health care reform! While complying with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that children under 19 be granted insurance regardless of preexisting conditions, the insurance industry has come up with a new, and equally outrageous, abuse: some have flat-out stopped offering child-only coverage. The companies fear that parents will only insure children who get sick, bringing insurers’ profits down. While insurers still cover children when their families sign up for policies, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans called the practice of not offering child-only coverage “widespread.” This won’t be allowed after 2014, if the ACA is fully implemented and everyone is required to have coverage. For now, though, insurers in up to 29 states have stopped offering child-only policies.
Anti-choice group Life Always recently posted a billboard in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, featuring a young African American girl, stating: “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.” A Life Always Board member explained, “Our future is in jeopardy as a genocidal plot is carried out through abortion.” After many community members objected to the ads as offensive to both women and people of color, the ad was removed, but ads are still running in other cities across the nation.
South Dakota is the first state in the U.S. to require a woman seeking an abortion to visit an unlicensed, unregulated pregnancy “help center” for counseling to ensure her decision is “voluntary” and “informed.” Although this is not the first law to mandate counseling, it is the first in which the mandatory counselors’ central qualification is that they are anti-choice. This law also establishes the longest waiting period in the country; a woman must wait 72 hours after completing the mandatory counseling before she can schedule an abortion – there is an exception for medical emergencies, but not for rape or incest.