Its been a tumultulous 100 days since Obama took office, and while health care reform has been shadowed by the current economic situation some very significant moves have been made. From promises to lower the cost of health care and the swift signing of bills to increase access to family planning, providers and campaigners for women’s health already have cause to celebrate under Obama.
20 January – In his inauguration speech Obama highlights the issues facing US health policy and promises to tackle them with science, “We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.”
23 January – Ends ban on federal funding for international groups which fund or promote abortion known as the Mexico City policy. Population Action International said, “Women’s health has been severely impacted by the cutoff of assistance. President Obama’s actions will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, abortions and women dying from high-risk pregnancies because they don’t have access to family planning.”
3 February– Tom Daschle, who was set to become Obama’s health secretary and was expected to lead his health care initiative, withdrew his nomination for the post following an admission he failed to pay about $140,000 in back taxes. He had built up a career as a strong advocate of universal health care and has a strong voting record in favour of abortion access.
23 February– Obama holds a fiscal responsibility summit at the White House voicing his intentions to tackle health care.
27 February – Proposes overturning of “conscience rule“, which allows health professionals to refuse to supply emergency contraception on the grounds of conscience.
5 March– Obama hosts day long summit for health care at the White House. He says, “Health care reform is no longer just a moral imperative its a fiscal imperative “. He later added, “In December every voice has to be heard, every idea must be researched every option must be on the table. There should be no sacred cow.”
9 March– Allows federal funds to be used for embryonic stem cell research. He also declares all federal scientific research will be walled off from political influences. See his speeches as represented by Wordle.com here.