National Organization for Women of New Jersey
February 3, 2009
Contact: Maretta J.
Short - NOW-NJ President
973 - 752 - 448
Drops Ball on Low Income Women
Actions Should Strengthen Support for Single Payer Health Care
A Historic Succession of events such as Dr. King’s Birthday,
the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, the Anniversary
of Roe vs. Wade, and the passing of the Lilly Ledbetter
Act left many of us with euphoria during the month of January.
However, all of these celebrative events came to a halt when
our newly elected president dribbled the ball for his economic
stimulus package into the Republican court for their approval.
President Obama was met with an opposing defense team that
aggressively slam dunked his proposal because they disagreed
with funding the Medicaid Family Services Provision (MFSP)
of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AARA)
for low income women. They wanted more tax breaks for
the rich. Obama appeased the Republicans by dropping the ball on
the MFSP, and called his staff to remove it from the bill, which
is tantamount to taking from the poor and giving to the rich.
Ironically, not one single Republican voted in favor of the
president’s stimulus package.
It is outrageous that our president, who had the ball in his
court from “Jump Street” with a Democratic-controlled House of
Representatives felt compelled to pass on the MFSP. The
$819 billion economic stimulus bill passed 244 to 188.
What a bitter pill for women to swallow because dropping the
ball on providing family planning services through Medicaid
further marginalizes low income women, particularly women of
color. Seemingly, the political gesture not only
marginalizes women but it also flies in the face of the
controversial cover page of Ms. Magazine’s inaugural issue that
published Obama as a super hero for feminists.
Retrospectively, it is important to mention aside and a part
from the (MFSP) that the recovery bill seemed to exclude Pink
jobs for women and only include Green jobs for men, but to the
contrary President of the National Organization for Women, Kim
Gandy says, “In early reports, the recovery package seemed to
focus on creating construction and physical infrastructure jobs
(which, like it or not, are primarily done by men), even though
women's unemployment rate is nearly as high as men's. NOW
worked with our sister organizations, the Obama transition team,
and House and Senate leaders, and--would you look at that!--the
ARRA includes funds for rebuilding our human
infrastructure, aimed at helping struggling families and
generating jobs in education and health care that women are
likely to fill. Gandy further announced,
“There are important safety net funds, increases in food
stamps and unemployment compensation, tax credits for child
care, and much more. Large-scale success for women -- I
had almost forgotten what that feels like!” said Gandy.
Finally, Maretta J. Short, President of the National
Organization for Women of New Jersey, is optimistic about
turning Obama’s actions into something positive. “I
doubt if anyone really knows why President Obama dropped the
ball on Family Planning Services for low income women who
have lost their jobs and health care benefits.
Obviously, it has pitted women against him and I hope it will
not reduce support for the Reinvestment Act because we need
it.” Short asserts that “On the other hand, surely
President Obama’s actions should strengthen support for
National Health Insurance bill HR 676, which will provide Single
Payer Health Care. It is accessible, affordable,
universal, culturally appropriate, and certainly it will include
family planning services for all women. Why can’t we redirect
our energy and start working on the health care crisis in
America? Let’s get behind HR 676 single payer health
insurance from the bottom up!”
Maretta J. Short