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Planned Parenthood: Healthcare reform should include women


NEW YORK An executive of a healthcare provider’s local chapter wants the new healthcare reform to include women.

Paula Gianino, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said in her column that the state governor’s Medicaid cuts reduced or eliminated insurance benefits for Missourians. Currently, 1-in-6 Missourians are uninsured, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“In 2003, the Missouri House eliminated a successful and cost-saving program that gave 30,000 Missouri women access to family-planning services,” Gianino wrote in a recent column.

Planned Parenthood serves more than 50,000 women each year by providing them with examinations, including pap smears, breast exams and tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

“In our current healthcare system, women of childbearing age spend 68% more on out-of-pocket expenses than men,” Gianino said. “A recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services titled ‘Roadblocks to Health Care: Why the Current Health Care System Does Not Work for Women’ shows that ‘women are more vulnerable to high healthcare costs... [because] women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap tests, mammograms, and obstetric care.’ And a 2009 survey conducted for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that women are delaying their annual exams as a result of the economic downturn.”

Additionally, a 2008 Kaiser Family Foundation study reported 67% of uninsured women went without needed care because of cost, as did nearly 20% of women with insurance.

“If we do not act, a health care reform proposal could be passed by Congress and sent to the president that eliminates access to previously covered services like pap smears, breast exams and comprehensive reproductive health care and that eliminates the ability to choose one’s provider of choice,” Gianino said. “This would be a huge setback for women in America.”

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