Regardless of the subtext, however, the mandate was necessary for families. The way the law was structured before, only family members had visitation rights – meaning family through blood or marriage. The problem with that rule is that many people do not live near their other relatives. Gay couples with partners may live in states far away from the rest of their families. This means that you can have a patient lying in a hospital with no familial support for hours or days. The president did the right thing.
If states do not choose to allow same-sex marriage, there will need to be some designation for a partnership that goes beyond sharing healthcare benefits. For safety purposes, the last thing a hospital needs is a case where some person claims to be a patient’s partner and is not. Without same-sex marriage as a reality in a given state, there will need some added level of identification to protect patients in the event that they are not conscious or able to identify partners. The mandate from Washington makes sense, regardless of where people stand on the marriage issue.
As I mentioned in a column about a year ago, the organization Project HEAL is actively engaged in helping young women pay for treatment should they have an eating disorder. HEAL was started by Liana Rosenman, Kristina Saffran, and Becky Allen, who were fighting these issues themselves and met in treatment.
Project HEAL today has sent two young women to treatment that did not have adequate health insurance to pay for the help they needed. They are now helping a third woman through their scholarship program. On May 23, they are holding a charity event to build the fund. Information can be found on the group's website, www.theprojectheal.org.
The issue does not get a great deal of attention, usually because it is difficult to categorize. It is a mixed physical and mental disorder that is often not really noticed by parents and friends until it manifests itself. The three founders have taken to public speaking at high schools and middle schools in the Queens and Long Island region in the last year. The issue is rarely taken up by politicians, and is not really a hot-button topic in politics, but it still very relevant and tends to be a growing problem.
Project HEAL was recently contacted by Princeton Medical Center, when experts there had a young woman that needed treatment, but realized that she had no insurance. Project HEAL helped her out with the needed expenses and the woman was sent to a treatment facility in Chicago. If it sounds a little bit like the show Intervention, it probably is similar. Dealing with these folks at the most vulnerable times in their lives is God’s work, and this is a good organization.
HEAL is often a bridge between people with eating disorders and the monetary help they may require. If you are at all in need of this kind of assistance, or you think that their words and advice might be helpful at your school, please reach out to these women.