WOMEN’S HEALTH: Legal Defense Fund Changes Name, Mission
After 27 years as an advocacy group for women, the Women's Legal Defense Fund today announced it is changing its name to the National Partnership for Women & Families. The group's new agenda will focus on health care and workplace issues, with a focus on two initiatives: the Quality Health Care Initiative, aimed at helping women get high-quality health care; and the Family Leave Initiative, intended to help "make family and medical leave available to more workers for more reasons," said National Partnership President Judith Lichtman. "Women have a tremendous stake in how well our rapidly changing health care system meets their needs," said National Partnership Executive Vice President Debra Ness. "Women spend most of the health care dollars and make most of the health care decisions for their families, and their unique health care concerns have been ignored for far too long. We intend to help women navigate the changing health care system and gain access to quality, affordable care," she said.
Health Care Worries
In conjunction with its name and agenda change, the National Partnership for Woman & Families sponsored a survey on Americans' attitude toward health care. According to the survey, half of Americans (52%) worry "often" about health care costs, getting quality care (46%) and being denied coverage (47%). In addition, 63% of respondents said they want added consumer protections and would be willing to pay more to get them. Nearly all Americans (93%) want health insurers to be required to meet basic quality standards. Two-thirds (66%) think the standards should be set by the federal or state governments, while only 17% say the standards should be set by the marketplace alone. The survey of 1,115 adults was conducted January 28-February 1 by Lake Sosin Snell Perry & Associates. The margin of error is plus/minus 3.1%.
Points Of Light
The National Partnership for Women & Families also developed a set of guiding principles that establish the minimum standards by which health plans should be judged in terms of women's health. The "Principles for Quality Health Care" include: a full range of health services to meet women's needs; choice of primary care provider; direct access to OB/GYN services; access to family planning and other community-based providers; continuity of care when switching health plans; final medical decisions made by medical professionals; access to prescription drugs that the provider determines are necessary for treatment; access to clinical trials and a fair and timely patient appeals system that allows for independent review (release, 2/24). For more information about the National Partnership and its health care survey, call 202/986-2600.