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Women's Vote Key to Health Care Reform, Symposium Concludes

By Anderson, Paul M. | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 11, 1997 | Go to article overview

Women's Vote Key to Health Care Reform, Symposium Concludes


Anderson, Paul M., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Paul M. Anderson Daily Herald Correspondent

If women really want health-care reform by the millennium more of them should vote and run for office.

That was the consensus of health care and political leaders at a symposium on health care Saturday sponsored by the Women's Leadership Council and McHenry County Citizens for Choice. The forum at the Four Colonies Country Club in Crystal Lake drew about 70 women.

State Comptroller Loleta Didrickson noted that Illinois ranks 26th in the nation for registered women voters, according to a Rutgers University study.

"Run for elected office yourself and register voters," Didrickson advised. "This kind of networking is extremely important ... (But) if this group is interested in being heard they need to register more women to vote."

The debate on health-care delivery took on renewed vigor last year because President Bill Clinton received a wide plurality of support from women voters, State Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Des Plaines Republican, argued.

"We wouldn't have passed any health-care initiatives last year if everyone wasn't looking for the women vote," Mulligan said.

One of the recent health-care measures forces doctors to keep a woman in the hospital for at least 48 hours after delivering a baby - 96 hours if the child was born through a Cesarean section. The law came in response to hospitals releasing women soon after childbirth to hold down medical costs.

This is the result of the era of managed care, in which health-care providers receive a cap on reimbursements from insurance companies, some said.

"There's a lot of pressure from HMOs that are trying to get people out of the hospital as soon as they can," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky an Evanston Democrat.

Mulligan acknowledged that short shrift is given to some patients in need of long-term care, but that managed care is beginning to hold the line on medical costs.

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