August 18 2009

Women Speak Out Against Government Takeover of Health Care

(WASHINGTON, DC) - August 18 - 300,000 American women with breast cancer might have died over the last decade, if the US had adopted a British-style, government-run health care system.  This shocking figure, based on recent studies, appears in a TV ad launched today by The Independent Women's Forum, a non-profit organization focused on issues of concern for women.  The 60-second spot highlights the deadly risks to women under the "public option" - or co-op - plan currently under consideration in Congress.

"My odds of surviving cancer were high, because my care was the best," says Tracy, a 44 year-old breast cancer survivor featured in the ad, which airs over the next week on cable and broadcast stations and is currently featured on You Tube. "What are your odds if the government takes over your care?" she asks. The IWF is featuring stories similar to Tracy's on its website, and is inviting people to share their own experiences about how they and their families have benefitted from the ability to make their own health care choices.

"Shifting the decision-making authority from the American citizen to government bureaucrats is an offense to who we are as Americans," remarks Heather Richardson Higgins, Chairman of The Independent Women's Forum. "Nothing could be more central to the pursuit of happiness than the ability to control one's own health and health options of loved ones."

Though support for the so-called "public option" has diminished in the face of fierce and widespread public opposition, the basic idea survives with a new name: co-op. In July, Senator Harry Reid said, "We're going to have some type of public option, call it ‘co-op,' call it what you want." In addition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement on August 17, declaring "There is strong support in the House for a public option.  In the House, all three of our bills contain a public option."

In an August 2008 report, Lancet Oncology found the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer patients is much higher in the United States than in England, where the government controls care - 83.9% vs. 69.8%. Applying this difference in survival rates to the American Cancer Society's current estimate of 2.5 million US breast cancer survivors indicates that as many as 300,000 more American women might have died had they received health care under a government-controlled system like England's.

"These are numbers we simply cannot afford, no matter what the supposed ‘savings' of a public plan or co-op," Higgins states.

Founded in 1992, The Independent Women's Forum is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and educational institution focused on issues of concern to women, men and families. More information at www.iwf.org. For interviews, background and additional materials, contact Carol Eberly at (202) 349-5882.

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