Monday, November 9, 2009

Sarah Miller, M.D., and I spoke at an OFA event in Setauket, Long Island on November 9th. We had a great turnout of about 40 attendees, who had lots of great questions about health reform. The forum was specifically regarding women's access to health care, and Dr. Miller shared an experience showing how even women with insurance have trouble getting their needs met. One of her patients needed a birth control method for medical reasons and was turned away many times because her insurance, run by a Catholic organization, did not cover birth control methods under any circumstances. Getting the care she needed required multiple trips to various physicians and would have been much simpler if insurance companies were required to cover basic reproductive health care needs. I recounted the story of a woman I met in the Emergency Department about a year ago who had been ignoring her chest pain for weeks out of fear of the hospital bills she would incur if she came in. By the time I met her, she was gravely ill and required emergency surgery for a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Unfortunately, she did not survive, and left behind a husband, children, and grandchildren who might have had much more time with her if she had had access to the care she needed.

The audience had many questions about how the bill would affect them, including those on Medicare and those who were younger, what services would be provided, and what the current proposals in Congress entail. We had a great time educating and learning from this wonderful audience.

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