WASHINGTON, D.C. - The health care reform debate has taken on a shade
of pink. First Lady Michelle Obama held a White House event today
(Friday) to make the case that breast cancer is proof of the need for
health care reform. Breast cancer survivors, who pay more for health
insurance or have been denied coverage, shared their stories, as well
as their hope that health care reform legislation now in Congress will
change their insurance experiences.
Wendy Wolf, a board member of the advocacy groups Living Beyond Breast Cancer
and the Women's Donor Network
was at the event and says the message is clear: For women, the focus of
reform should be on preventive care and lower costs, not pre-existing
"They can no longer be denied coverage or charged exorbitant rates
because of the fact that they have survived breast cancer. Also,
mammograms will be part of the basic package. So in all of these ways,
women - and women who have been or will be affected by breast cancer -
The health care reform plans now under consideration would not allow
cancer, pregnancy and domestic violence, or any other pre-existing
condition, to be used as reasons to charge more for health insurance.
No matter which of the bills makes it through the maze of Congressional
committees and votes, Wolf believes women's health stands to improve.
"All women are going to benefit tremendously from any one of the health
care plans that are being considered - because of costs, because of
coverage, because of the kind of preventive care and because of the
choices they'll have."
A new government report, "Health Insurance Reform and Breast Cancer,"
cites cost as the reason many women skip mammograms, delay treatment or
don't complete the cancer treatments suggested by their doctors. (It
can be viewed online at www.healthreform.gov
Critics of the current bills say they still don't include a viable
public option, which means health care will not be affordable for some