Today, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s health participated in a living room discussion with U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. During the event, Wisconsin women shared their personal health care stories and experiences with the Secretary.
The conversation took place at the residence of Charlene Pedersen-Purtell on Madison’s west side, and included 14 women, all with their own personal story to share. Sara Finger, WAWH executive director, facilitated. During the living room talk, Sebelius led discussions that highlighted important health topics that affect women. This included an open dialogue about the importance of our current health care system continuing to navigate away from the status quo – and health insurance practices that disproportionately, and negatively impact women. This includes discrimination because of pre-existing conditions and limits to care coverage.
Family physician Lana Doxtater from Access Community Health Center shared how more of the care her patients need is covered, due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and how she is able to work in the community health setting, for those most in need of affordable care, as a member of the National Health Service Corps. Tracy and her son Sami spoke about the important care kids like Sami, with preexisting conditions, are getting because insurance companies are banned from dropping or limiting care for children with preexisting conditions, and prohibited from refusing to cover care once families have hit a lifetime limit on coverage. Sammy has Neurofibromatosis, a disease that causes tumors to grow all over his body. This leads him to need much more and costlier care than most nine year olds. Two young women shared how important it is that they’ll be able to stay on their parent’s insurance plan when they graduate from college.
In today’s tough economic times, it is important to keep the conversation going when it comes to health care access. Women are less able to gain coverage through employer-sponsored means, making access to affordable, comprehensive health care coverage vital for Wisconsin women. This event served as a way for Wisconsin women and families to talk openly about how the Affordable Care Act puts them in charge of their health care, according to a statement by HHS.
We are incredibly grateful that Secretary Sebelius brought this conversation to the women of Wisconsin and are glad we were able to participate in such an important discussion.