As Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close, we share concerns and frustration that persist around changes made to the Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP) in 2015.
In August of this year, our staff along with elected leaders and leaders from the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition met with Wisconsin Department Health Services staff to address the fact that the number of women served by the WWWP program has dramatically fallen and the concerning feedback provided by the Local Coordinators (see below).
After making strong recommendations and requests to ensure Wisconsin women who need life-saving cancer screenings have access at that August meeting with DHS officials, three months later, we still await the data and response from administrative leaders.
As as another month of breast cancer prevention awareness and advocacy ends, we remain infuriated that many Wisconsin women may be falling through the cracks of care and services because of this unnecessary change to a successful program made in 2015.
From a 10/19/17 Press Release from the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition:
Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition Completes WWWP Survey:
Staff at the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition completed a survey of all 14 Wisconsin Well Women Program Coordinators in Wisconsin. In a letter to the Department of Health Services, the WBCC outlined the survey results, which point to ongoing problems with the WWWP. The WBCC also reached out to partners in advocacy in order to give them the opportunity to express their shared concerns for the women served by this program.
Our organization’s aim is to make sure that women throughout our state have access to the potentially lifesaving screenings that the WWWP is tasked with providing. The WBCC and others have made repeated attempts to get up-to-date information regarding the status of the WWWP, in order to ensure that all women in Wisconsin are getting the access to the care they need.
Data from this survey was collected by surveying all 14 WWWP coordinators in Wisconsin.
All 14 WWWP Coordinators participated in the surveys conducted by the WBCC. Percentages were calculated by the number of respondents who answered “Yes” divided by the total number of coordinators. The only exception is the data regarding coordinators serving a county without a provider, in order to account for the fact that Milwaukee County is served by two coordinators.
Overview taken from a 10/13/18 email from the Center for Reproductive Rights
What is Public Charge?
“Public charge” is a longstanding test under federal immigration law designed to identify people who may depend on the government as their main source of support. If the government determines that a person is likely to become a “public charge,” it may deny a person entry to the U.S. or permanent residence (or “green card” status).
What is the Trump Administration doing?
On October 10, 2018, the Trump Administration proposed a change that would broadly expand what forms of public assistance make someone a “public charge.” In short, it would force immigrant women and children to make an impossible decision between meeting basic needs, including health care, and keeping their families together in this country. The impact would be particularly harsh on pregnant and postpartum women and children who may decline to enroll in Medicaid and other services, resulting in poorer maternal and child health, education, and financial outcomes.
How Public Charge could change
If the rule is finalized in its proposed form, this would mark a significant and harmful departure from the current policy. For over a hundred years, the government has recognized that basic and necessary services, such as health care and housing help families thrive and remain productive. And decades ago, the government clarified that immigrant families can seek health and nutrition benefits without fearing that doing so will harm their immigration case.
Rejecting this long-standing approach to public charge, the proposed rule targets the following key programs essential to immigrant women and children’s well-being:
What can you do?
Tell the Trump administration that we will not stand by while it attempts to punish parents and their children for feeding themselves or going to the doctor. Because this is just a proposed rule at this point, the Trump administration must open the proposal up for comments by the public, and review and consider every comment that is submitted. By December 10th, 2018, submit an official comment with the government telling them you object to the rule change and stand with immigrant families.
Sara Finger, Executive Director