Tough Week for Women

Good thing my gyn gave me a reminder call for my yearly tuneup. I’d have hated to miss that, it takes months to reschedule and the doctor is very busy. I told her I was tired all the time, and she gave me a slip for some blood tests. Gyn is a form of primary care, for some women the only primary care they get.

This made me more sensitive to the situation of women in Indiana, who depend on Planned Parenthood for their health care. Planned Parenthood will no longer be reimbursed for Medicaid patients…

Medicaid patients are now paying for their own health services at Indiana’s Planned Parenthood clinics or looking for alternatives after the group ran out of private donations that had been paying those patients’ bills.

A state law that took effect in May denied Planned Parenthood Medicaid funds for general health services it provides to low-income women, including breast exams, birth control and Pap smears.

Over 90% of Planned Parenthood’s services are primary, preventive and educative.

Like all the young women I knew, I went there when I needed a prescription for birth control. I also got blood pressure checks, health advice and pap smears. I never got better care from private doctors than I got at Planned Parenthood.

I asked the secretary at my gyn whether they accept Medicaid patients. She looked at me sympathetically, and said that if I switched to Medicaid they could probably still see me. I said I was looking for gynecologists who accept Medicaid and she said they don’t take that insurance for new patients. She mentioned the Women’s Cancer Screening Program as a resource.

I used to refer women to them, and they do the best they can with a number of different providers. They save lives, they could do much more with more resources. Still, it’s not like having a clinic you can go to when you need a doctor.

Gyn, like dental, is one of those essential services that gets cut and cut again. I think about women in Indiana who will wait longer to see a doctor for cancer screening, for primary care, for birth control. They will search for a private doctor who accepts Medicaid, and maybe not find one.

This is not a good time for women who don’t have money or influence. Shutting down clinics is good politics, a few anonymous women giving up on cancer screening because no doctor will accept their insurance won’t get much attention because, frankly, we’re used to it.

The Federal Government has appealed
, the judge will decide on July 1. This action by the Feds is an example of why it matters who we elect as president and why the two parties are not the same.

WOMEN’S CANCER SCREENING- Several years ago I referred a woman to the Women’s Cancer Screening Program. She was uninsured and had never been able to get follow-up care for an ominous lump she had discovered in her breast. She did get help through the program, though it took a while. She had her breast removed on Valentines Day, that always seems especially sad to me. I ran into her a couple of years later, she was well, happy to be alive. She was working in a low-wage job caring for the elderly. It’s not uncommon for those who give care to be uninsured. The Women’s Cancer Screening Program doesn’t have a central location where women can walk in for care, but has a list of providers who will give free care to qualified women. It’s a tough process, and the heart of the program are the dedicated outreach workers who go where the need is and talk to women one-on-one.

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