WVFC: Sick people and Sick Banks
In the current era of debate about health-care costs, last week's Newsmix item on kidney transplants sounded an alarm here at WVFC. One reader, Rita Prangle, asked the question on many minds:
The study authors' belief that doctors consider women frailer than their male counterparts doesn't make sense. We're all aware that women live longer than men. I wonder if there isn't another reason, that women, especially older women, just aren't valued in our culture. The cultural perception seems to be that women over 55 wouldn't have much to live for anyway. Am I paranoid?
We at Women's Voices for Change exist to explore this misconception about the value of women over 40 (which does include women over 55). We write in response to news like the piece that drew your attention: the reason that older women may be considered too frail for kidney transplants or other medical treatments.
We are grateful for your comments and interest in the subject of how women are described in the media and how health care decisions are made based on outdated concepts of our demographic. We must be vigilant in this time of diminishing financial support for health care in general, combined with the unimaginable need to provide access to health care for the millions of uninsured with dwindling dollars at the same time. We are now using limited financial resources to treat SICK BANKS instead of SICK PEOPLE. Our current administration came into office with a mandate to provide health coverage to many more people, now with much less money.
If women are not part of the conversation, the public dialogue, and are not actively involved in monitoring the decisions made at state and federal levels concerning who and what will be covered by some sort of insurance program, we could find ourselves triaged out of important services and care. Our voices and our votes must be heard and must be valued.
-- Patricia Yarberry Allen
(Image courtesy Slate.com.)