Raising Women’s Voices

Will Health Care Reform Help – or Hurt – Women?

Posted in Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on October 23, 2008

By Kay Steiger
Created Oct 23 2008 – 8:00am
In August this year, the infamous “Harry and Louise” ads of 1993 returned. This time, Harry and Louise weren’t complaining that the government would take away their options [1] on health care. Instead, they called for health care reform [2] and worried about skyrocketing costs. Health care reform remains a top domestic concern, and the candidates for president have proposed very different ideas of how to correct rising medical costs. The two different plans would affect women in very different ways.
Push Toward the Individual Market vs. Expansion of Federal Benefits
Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain’s plan promotes the individual health care market. Currently, Americans pay for employer-sponsored health care premiums with pre-tax income. McCain’s plan would require workers to pay for insurance out of post-tax income; his plan would offset this by extending a tax credit of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families. This tax credit can either be applied to a person’s employer-sponsored plan or to one on the individual market. Additionally, McCain calls for opening up options by allowing people to purchase health care plans from providers in other states.
But this push to the individual market isn’t optimal for women. According to a report [3] recently released by the National Women’s Law Center, women have a hard time finding equitable coverage on the individual market, often paying more and getting less. Right now about two-thirds of women get coverage though an employer, 16 percent of women get coverage through public programs like Medicaid, and just 7 percent of women currently get coverage through the individual market.
Of women who bought insurance on the individual market, the NWLC report found that they pay more in monthly premiums at almost every age than men–6 to 45 percent more for women aged 25 and 4 to 48 percent more at age 40. How can this be legal in the individual market and not in employer-sponsored coverage? Courts have ruled that Title VII of Civil Rights Act applies to employer insurance coverage. Only ten states prohibit such discrepancies in individual market premiums, and two states limit it….

For the Complete Article, Please Visit: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/10/17/will-health-care-reform-help-or-hurt-women

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