Susan G Komen v. Planned Parenthood: Women Weigh In

by Admin on February 3, 2012 · 1 comment

in News

Today the Susan G. Komen Foundation succumbed to the will of the women it purportedly exists to help and

Supporters of Planned Parenthood

Image via Wikipedia

agreed to continue funding Planned Parenthood. Everyone will see this issue somewhat differently, but I see it as another hopeful sign of the power of social media to affect large organizations of all kinds, from government to corporations, and of our need to get our act together about what we want from the health care system in the future.

Think about it: Bank of America tried to charge customers $5.00 to use a debit card for a purchase, and a huge consumer outburst on the social networks shut that idea down very quickly.

Then Amit Gupta, a leukemia patient who needed a match for a bone marrow transplant, posted his need to his Tumblr, and a match was found through “crowdsourcing.”

“San Francisco resident Amit Gupta was diagnosed with leukemia last fall, and he desperately needed a bone marrow transplant. Instead of just accepting his diagnosis, he decided to use his social media skills to raise his chances of finding a willing donor. Gupta, a Web entrepreneur who created the startups Photojojo and Jelly, looked for a donor with a post on Tumblr. Now, four months later, thanks to his own determination, the support of caring friends and strangers, and help from social media, he has found a match.”–Yahoo News

It goes without saying that the power of social media is already recognized in foreign affairs: the crowd-forced ouster of corrupt Philippine President Joseph Estrada,  and the Arab spring are the best examples of this phenomenon.

In our own country, we can only look to former  Senator Christopher Dodd‘s shock and surprise when the SOPA and PIPA bills got derailed in Congress. Dodd, now a spokesperson for the MPAA, thought he had it nailed.

No one has it nailed anymore.

This poses a huge responsibility for us, the crowd. What do we really want?  How do we want to transform our system, which I believe will be politically transformed somehow during this election cycle or the next — much faster than we expected.

In health care, this is even more important than in politics as a whole, because health care affects the entire population. Listening to Rick Santorum tell the mother of a sick child that drug companies have to make a profit made me realize we have to have a dialogue about this that includes more than just President Obama, his successor, if there is one, and members of the legislature with axes to grind on both sides.

In Greece, austerity measures have hit the health care system hard, and there has been a public response:

Striking doctors, health workers and pharmacists in Greece have marched on parliament in Athens, protesting an EU/IMF reform to cut spending and liberalise.

Lenders have set this as a high priority, since roughly 10 percent of Greek GDP is spent on healthcare, around 25 billion euros per year.

We have a huge opportunity to insist on what kind of health care system we want and are willing to pay for if we continue to raise our voices. Maybe we should not wait until the austerity that faces America actually comes to pass. If society has to prioritize, shouldn’t it prioritize the health of its own citizens?

I’m really not saying much here except that health care does not seem to be much of an issue in this election, and it should be. We are facing either Obamacare or the repeal of Obamacare, and both mean changes to the status quo. Don’t be blindsided: be informed.


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