I take a lot of things for granted.
Like when I get out of bed in the morning and turn on the shower, I don’t always appreciate how many things had to go right for hot water to come out of the shower head. One false move and I could be huddled over the drain in a shivering heap.
One thing none of us should take for granted is our health.
Now there are a lot of aspects of our health, like aging, or a genetic predisposition to certain disease, that can tip the scales away from living a healthy life. The decisions you make about what to eat, or whether to exercise also play a big role. But access to medical and preventive care services should never block you from living a healthy life.
The World Health Organization has been championing healthy outcomes across the globe for 70 years, and has for many years sponsored World Health Day on April 7. The theme this year is, “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere.”
Here at Planned Parenthood, we are big proponents of health coverage for everyone. Health care coverage from programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and more recently the Affordable Care Act, has made an enormous difference in the health of our family, friends and neighbors. Having health coverage means people in our community throughout Missouri and Illinois can access care they may otherwise not be able to without insurance.
But universal health coverage?
Universal health coverage means that all people and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. We’re not quite there yet.
That’s why Planned Parenthood raises money from private donors to allow our health centers to provide birth control, pap tests, STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings and many other services to our patients regardless of their ability to pay. We’d love to live in a world where everyone has access to health care whenever they need it. But until then, we’ll be here, providing high-quality, affordable, accessible health care to anyone who needs it.
That is our promise to our community, and it’s our way of making health care available for everyone, everywhere. And we won’t ever take that for granted.
Jesse Lawder is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.