Raising Women’s Voices

Worse for Women An Analysis of the Effects Senator McCain’s Health Plan Would Have on Women’s Access to Health Care

Posted in Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on September 11, 2008

By Jessica Arons, Karen Davenport, Stephanie Bell, Amy Yenyo

September 10, 2008


Senator John McCain’s health plan would drastically restructure America’s health care system, with especially devastating effects on women. The health plan of the Arizona senator and Republican presidential nominee would dangerously destabilize the employer-based health insurance system upon which 160 million non-elderly Americans rely for their health care, steering them instead toward the individual market where basic medical needs often are not covered.

Tens of millions of women would be at risk of losing their current insurance coverage even though they use health care services more frequently than men, suffer chronic illness more often than men, and require maternity care and other reproductive health services. Specifically, under the McCain health plan:

  • More than 59 million women who receive their health insurance through their job, ƒƒor their spouse’s job, are at risk of losing that insurance
  • More than 30 million women with employer-sponsored health insurance who suffer ƒƒfrom a chronic condition could lose their coverage, find it harder to obtain coverage, or have to purchase supplemental insurance to cover their chronic condition

In addition, Sen. McCain’s health plan would erode important state requirements aimed specifically at protecting women’s access to some of their most basic health needs. By permitting plans to cherry-pick their state of residence as well as enabling plans to sell policies without regard to state insurance rules through so-called “association health plans,” Sen. McCain’s plan would encourage insurers to eliminate coverage of basic health services. These state requirements include:

  • Twenty-nine statesƒƒ require cervical cancer and Human Papillomavirus screening Sixteen statesƒƒ require coverage of the HPV vaccine
  • Thirty-one statesƒƒ require comprehensive drug benefit plans to include contraception
  • Twenty-one statesƒƒ require coverage of maternity care
  • Forty-nine statesƒƒ require breast reconstruction

    Depending on where a woman lives, the state protections at risk include:

  • Direct access to obstetricians/gynecologistsƒƒ
  • Annual breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer screeningƒƒ
  • Sexually transmitted infection screeningƒƒ
  • Prohibitions on gender-based premium rating
  • Limited definitions of pre-existing conditions that prevent surgeries like Caesarean sections from limiting women’s coverage

Rather than giving women more control over their health care decisions, as Sen. McCain promises to do, his health plan would take away women’s ability to access critical health care services.

For the full article, please visit: http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2008/womens_health_mccain.html

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