Health Care Debate: A Woman’s Issue

Recently, well actually about 5 minutes ago, I was looking at the New York Times online and came across an interesting article by Jeff Zeleny commenting on Michelle Obama’s entrance into the health care debate. She cited that the debate was of “critical importance to women” and the next step for women to assure full equality. It seems that everywhere I look there is always an issue of inequality for women. Up until reading this article, I had not thought about the overwhelming amount of women that take jobs that do not provide health insurance/benefits. Also insurance companies still discriminate based on gender – having a child, or undergoing a c-seciton is looked at as having a pre-existing condition and can wipe away your hope for receiving health insurance. This also sparked for me to remember a paper I had written for my Intro to GWS class that explored insurance companies taking advantage of a woman’s biological difference – below is an excerpt

“According to the New York Times article Women Buying Health Policies Pay a Penalty, women are paying more than men for individual health insurance policies. In most cases these policies are providing identical coverage for a woman as a man her same age would receive. Health Insurance executives say they have valid reasons for placing a higher premium on women. “Women ages 19 to 55 tend to cost more than men because they typically use more health care especially in the childbearing years”.2 Although insurers note that women use more health care during their childbearing years, women are still charged more than men for coverage that does not include maternity care. The question then arises why are men and women treated unequal in the health insurance community.”

This backs up Michelle Obama’s call to women to get involved. Private health insurance companies are creating just another inequality for women to face. I urge all of you to get involved at least by educating yourself on the debate and seeing how it affects you!

Here is the link to the article:

2 Responses to “Health Care Debate: A Woman’s Issue”

  1. Kaitlyn O'Bryan says:

    Megan, you raise an interesting point about women and health care. I definitely agree that health care needs to be extended to more women-dominated careers but I am not sure if we should say that the cost should be equal. During child baring years women do cost more to insure, but after that point (I would guess but dont quote me) that men are more expensive to insure since they as a group do not take care of thier health as much as women. The fact is some one needs to pay for the cost of health insurance – should we make men pay the difference during the child baring years? Then should women pay the difference when the men become more expensive?

    Also, what about car insurance? Especially in the teen/young adult years males have to pay a lot more than women. Should we make everyone pay a flat rate for car insurance, even though women will be paying for men’s traditional reckless driving?

  2. Jaime Olsen says:

    I thought this article was very interesting, and I also think it’s great that with a new presidency comes a new debate about the status of health care in the United States.
    While President Obama is doing a good job of raising some of the most pressing concerns related to health care, I think it is even more significant that our First Lady is taking a stance and making a public statement about the status of women under health insurance policies.
    I, as well, had not realized the extent to which women received less coverage than men in some areas of health, and I also feel that until the general public realizes this fact, no great steps can be taken to reverse this. Michelle Obama, by voicing her views, is taking the first steps in alerting the public to this injustice.