No one at the table 

Sitting here, with a nursing Diego on my chest, in my chair that supports my back and c-section soreness, and thinking about the billions of women who’ve done this before me. And yet…somehow, despite their volume and importance, these women were suspiciously absent from this table:

A bunch of old white men sitting around a board room, discussing their importance, is hardly a remarkable event. However, this group convened to discuss health care benefits. Specifically, whether insurance companies should be required to provide maternity and newborn care benefits as part of their core coverage.

And somehow, no one thought this topic warranted a woman’s perspective?* It’s deeply troubling to think that sometime this afternoon, these men, and their colleagues in the House, will vote on legislation to strip women of basic coverage protections.

Policy and optics aside, this whole AHCA proposal (and legislative process) is just completely bonkers. Our country is already so far behind the rest of the developed world in the support we provide for caregivers, for both children and older adults. Now we’re going to take away their care and treatment, as well?

Two days after the c-section, I was able to take my first shower. The whole cesarean process left me feeling incredibly vulnerable, and I was scared to see the incision for the first time. To calm myself from that fear, I thought about was how many other women have done this. And as nervous as I felt, I knew I was in a good hospital, with an excellent care team, and I would have support to help me heal and recover.  Thinking about that helped me feel stronger in that moment.

Everyone should have that reassurance in a vulnerable moment.

But here’s the thing-good care, strong hospitals, excellent coverage-they don’t just happen. It’s not like the “free market” suddenly makes insurance companies cover costly but necessary surgeries, or “charitable giving” alone results in a safety net program that provides low-income women access to quality hospitals. Of course all of that helps, and individual ingenuity and drive improve care for everyone. But the foundation of all of this is our laws and regulations; laws that require a solid Medicaid program, that require essential coverage benefits, that ensure we all have access to the care and services we need to create and maintain a life of dignity. 

The thought of that table of men making decisions that could impact future women, mothers-to-be, mothers and babies–and their partners!–without the input of a single woman is horrifying. 

Going to go make some calls and stay hopeful for this afternoon and the future.

Happy Friday :)

* One article mentioned there were three women in the room: Kelly-Anne Conway and “two unidentified women in the back.” Very reassuring.

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Filed under Health Care, Observations

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