Hadassah, the Woman’s Zionist Organization of America, renown for its commitment to health care, is devoted to strengthening the health care system in the United States. Consistent with its mission to improve the quality of American life, Hadassah believes that every American should have access to affordable, quality health care.
The health care system in the United States is in need of comprehensive reform. Forty-seven million Americans now lack health insurance, nine million of whom are children, and these numbers are rising. Lack of coverage compromises the health and economic well-being of millions of uninsured individuals as well as our nation as a whole.
Hadassah calls upon the federal government to adopt health care reform that ensures access to coverage for every American, starting with coverage for every child under the age 18. The federal government must ensure the stability and adequacy of financing so that coverage is affordable for every American. Individuals must be provided with a choice of health insurance plans, and plans must be comprehensive, covering prescription drugs and preventative and emergency services.
While the federal government works to reform the national health care system, Hadassah calls upon state governments to continue to enact legislation that expands affordable coverage and improves the quality of care for every American.
Prior Health Care Reform Policy Statements
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is committed to advocating the principle that the highest-quality medical care be available in the United States and the rest of the world.
Hadassah believes that the adoption of comprehensive, federal standards for health care reform is an important step toward providing accessible, quality health care for all Americans. Such standards must include prompt access to treatment as prescribed by physicians and medical specialists, guaranteed emergency care coverage and civil remediation against negligent health plans. These are critical components of any strong patients’ rights legislation.
Therefore, Hadassah urges Congress to swiftly pass a comprehensive patients’ bill of rights that ensures these necessary protections for all Americans in health plans.
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, has an unwavering commitment to reproductive freedom and strongly supports equity in prescription drug coverage for men and women.
Currently, women pay 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care expenses than men, primarily due to medical expenses related to reproductive health supplies, services and prescription medicine. While most employment-related insurance policies in the United States cover prescription drugs in general, the vast majority does not include coverage for FDA approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices. Women are disproportionately affected by this lack of coverage, as they are the primary consumers of prescription contraceptives.
This inequity has been highlighted by the introduction of the anti-impotence drug, Viagra. Within two months of Viagra’s entry into the U.S. market, more than half of the prescriptions for Viagra was covered by insurance plans. In contrast, women and women’s advocates have pressured for more than three decades to obtain insurance coverage for women’s contraceptives, to no avail.
A majority of the states has recently passed laws requiring equity in prescription drug coverage. Hadassah lauds this legislative success and urges other states to follow suit. Hadassah calls on Congress to pass legislation, in which all private insurers would be required to provide equity in prescription coverage.
WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, believes that women's health care needs have been largely ignored by the current health care system. Medical research, health care delivery, access and payment systems have failed to address women's specific health care needs.
The following principles must be included in any health care reform plan to assure that women's access, treatment and research needs are met.
Universal Access. Everyone must have access to quality health care. Employment and marital status, ability to pay, age, enrollment in public assistance programs and pre-existing conditions must not be barriers to care.
Comprehensive Benefits. Any health care reform package must include a broad package of health services including primary care, preventive care, regularly scheduled screenings including pap smears and mammograms, diagnostic and treatment services, a full range of reproductive health services including family planning and abortion, and long term care.
Providers and Setting. Health services should be available from a choice of providers, in a variety of settings.
Accountability. The health care system must be accountable to women and their health concerns. Women who represent the broad spectrum of women's health interests must be included on all health boards, commissions and other advisory and regulatory boards.
Research. Any reform must include a national research agenda with increased funding and attention to the health needs of women. New studies on women's health issues must be initiated and ongoing research and clinical trials must include women.
NATIONAL HEALTH CARE COVERAGE
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, calls upon the Federal Government to take all necessary steps to assure adequate, affordable and comprehensive health care coverage for all individuals legally residing in the United States.
We believe that any proposed health care plan should include the following principles:
I. Universal coverage;
II. Emphasis on preventative medicine;
III. Long-term care;
IV. Choice in the selection of health care providers;
V. High-quality, cost-effective health care.
BASIC LEVEL OF MEDICAL CARE
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, recognizes that 30 percent of the U.S. public have no health insurance of any kind. Many people who are welfare recipients tend to remain on the rolls so that they will not lose their medical coverage.
Americans who cannot afford treatment often do not seek medical attention until their situation is drastic. Baby care is not affordable for many young parents.
Hadassah urges the federal government to initiate a medical coverage program that insures access to basic medical care for all Americans. The coverage should be subsidized to whatever extent necessary by federal funding.
LONG-TERM CARE FOR THE ELDERLY
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, urges federal legislation initiatives designed for and aimed at assisting the elderly in need of home care or long-term institutional or custodial care
CATASTROPHIC HEALTH CARE PROGRAM
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is deeply concerned about millions of elderly Americans whose health is at risk and who live in fear of economic devastation as a result of catastrophic illness.
We urge Congress to enact legislation as soon as possible for a comprehensive health care bill to relieve the financial burden of the elderly and their families.
We further urge that such legislation include provisions for health insurance which will cover short and long-term hospitalization, custodial care in nursing homes, and long-term home care, as well as prescription drugs.