Young Women Are Voting for Universal Health Care This Election

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This story is published as part of StudentNations Vision 2020: Next Generation Election Stories, reports by young journalists that focus on the concerns of various young voters. In this project, in collaboration with Dr. Sherri Williams recruited young journalists from diverse backgrounds to come up with story ideas and share their peers’ concerns about the most important choices in our lives.

F.Or two years, Theresa Maher was an intern at the American University’s Health Promotion and Advocacy Center, where the 22-year-old learned firsthand the importance of health care for the future of the country.

Today, Maher is outraged by the lack of awareness of women’s health care in this year’s presidential election. For her, and thousands of women across the country like her, the voting booth is a place to regain power and support a presidential candidate who makes women’s health a priority.

“We are literally ignoring half the country when we ignore women’s access to health care,” said Maher, who lives in Washington, DC. “When women say they are in pain, doctors assume it is normal or that they are complaining.” But women know their body. ”

Ninety percent of women with chronic pain say the health system discriminates against female patients. For example, men typically wait an average of 49 minutes before being treated for abdominal pain. According to a report from the National Women’s Rights Center, women have to wait an average of 65 minutes to receive treatment for the same problem.

Gender health inequalities and a national health industry with systemic inequalities are motivating some young women to use their ballots in these national elections to crack down on bigotry based on gender, race and class that some women in medicine face. Rikki Kyle, a senior who studies public relations and strategic communications at American University, said having a president who focuses on women’s health care is vital because not all women have equal access to health care. “Trump has not made me, my sisters, my distant sisters, people in my community with whom I share arguments and adversities, feel that he wants to help us or make sure we are fine,” said Kyle. Kyle, a 21-year-old black woman, grew up in Cleveland where she saw differences in access to health care among working class women.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 14 percent of all women did not see a doctor in 2018 for cost reasons. This rate rises to 17 percent for black women. Kyle said she avoided medical facilities as much as possible because she felt that their best interests were not on their hearts. “Healthcare is ultimately a priority and ultimately a business,” said Kyle. “You are for profit.”

Michaila Peters, a senior political scientist and philosophy student at American University, said she was concerned that vital resources like rape kits or gynecological appointments would be limited if the next president doesn’t put women’s health first. Peters, 21, said the upcoming elections have shown the country has reached a crossroads, even a crisis point. For Peters, however, it means focusing on women’s health is more important than ever. “If the next president doesn’t make women’s health a priority, things could get worse than before,” she said.

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