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Washington’s latest attempt to deny access to affordable health care


Members of the Main Street Alliance’s Executive Team recently signed onto an ad in support of Planned Parenthood and their commitment to providing access to affordable healthcare, one of MSA’s founding principles.

The Main Street Alliance (MSA) was created because business owners across the country understood the increasing cost that the lack of affordable healthcare was imposing on our businesses, our employees, our customers, and on the communities we serve. As income inequality has widened, more and more of that cost is falling onto small businesses and the poor and low wage workers in our communities.

{mosads}MSA succeeded in defining the critical role small business plays in initiating positive reform in this country. MSA’s leadership was pivotal in the successful campaign to shape and eventually pass into law The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). As we have learned, the ACA has become a seminal principle that has altered our societies understanding of our joint responsibilities to each other, especially in the area of health and wellness.

We have also been reminded, once again, there are powerful political forces that oppose our “shared responsibility” principle and, therefore, oppose all efforts to provide essential public health services to all levels of society. The refusal of extremist-dominated state legislatures to implement ACA financed Medicaid expansion is just one example. Another is the hard-liner movement to deny public funding for essential health care services, like those provided by Planned Parenthood (PP) to low-income women and their families.

No other organization provides the same level of vital service for women and families on a national scale that PP does and they serve the very same communities that our member businesses serve. They too have drawn the ire of the same talking heads in Washington. The most extreme wing of the same political movement that attempts to undercut all of the programs and policies that MSA works so hard to build and implement in our communities has aimed its sights on the health care providers at Planned Parenthood.

Make no mistake. The focus by extremist political forces on PP is not primarily about terminating pregnancies or contraception. The focus on (the extremely small incidence of) perfectly legal abortion services provided by PP is nothing more than a cynical ploy to play on the emotions of and manipulate those who hold strong personal convictions about abortion and/or contraception.

In reality, in much of the country there are numerous hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices providing abortion services. No one is blockading, burning or bombing Kaiser Hospital, for example. The political extremists are focusing on the least powerful and most vulnerable, poor and low-wage women and their health care providers, in their campaign to reverse the gains MSA and our allies have made in advancing access to affordable, quality, health care for our businesses, our employees and the communities we serve.

This is an opportunity for the Main Street Alliance to re-affirm our commitment to a shared responsibility for improved health care access for our businesses and the communities we serve, the principle that brought us all together in the first place.

Houser is a member of the Main Street Alliance Executive Committee and is the owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Oregon. 


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