I am writing this on Super Tuesday, as many of you are making your choice about the next person to lead our country. If you have met with the candidates or listened to the debates (particularly on the Democratic side) you have heard a great deal of discussion about health care. It is only natural for breast cancer survivors and advocates like us, and our friends and family, to pay extra attention when that topic comes up.
As survivors, as women who have faced the challenges of an illness as devastating as breast cancer, ensuring access to quality health care for all is a very real priority. It also happens to be NBCC's top public policy goal. The fact that there would be any debate on this is truly shocking. We should be figuring out how exactly to make this possible, rather than arguing whether it should be. Guaranteed access to quality health care is both a basic human right and a crucial step in our ongoing fight to eliminate breast cancer once and for all.
NBCC has already done quite a bit of work on this front. In 2006, our Board of Directors helped mold a preliminary blueprint to guarantee access to quality health care and get more value for our health care dollar. Throughout the process we applied our longstanding commitment to advancing evidence-based medicine and training consumers to strive towards systems change. NBCC convened a meeting of high-profile experts in health care reform this January to weigh in on our blueprint, entitled Framework for a Health Care System Guaranteeing Access to Quality Health Care for All. This lively and productive meeting included representatives from insurance companies, health care provider associations, unions, consumer groups. We asked them to give us feedback on the approach we developed. NBCC is now meeting with policy makers on Capitol Hill and elsewhere and will unveil our plan in April at our Advocacy Training Conference.
Does this sound like a worthy fight to you? Do you agree that health care is a basic human right, something we can no longer ignore? Do you believe guaranteed access to quality care for all is a crucial part of the breast cancer agenda? Do you want to find out what you can do? Come to our Annual Advocacy Training Conference - I promise that you will hear and learn much more.
And, because the election is on my mind and probably yours, there is one final thing you can do right now: take NBCC's voter pledge. Join hundreds of thousands of women and men across the country who are determined to make their vote in the 2008 presidential race a vote to eradicate breast cancer.
As you know, breast cancer is not only a medical or scientific issue - it is a political issue. Being part of the political process is one of the most important things we can do as advocates committed to ending breast cancer. We must let our elected officials and candidates know that before we vote, we are paying attention to both their words and their past deeds around health care.
NBCC asked all candidates running for President to tell us what they would do to eradicate breast cancer. Most responded; some didn't. We posted the responses on www.BreastCancerCaucus.org; so, if you have not done so already, please take a look before you head to the polls and sign the pledge.