Monday, November 2, 2009

Women Need Health Care Reform

Michelle Obama has said it, and women all over have agreed- health care reform is a woman’s issue. The numbers say so-- 17.8% of women ages 18-64 in America are uninsured. This data come from the US Census Bureau’s data from 2008, but the National Women’s Law Council published charts that break the numbers down into what they mean for women of reproductive age. They even show it state-by-state.

Maryland beats the national average for women, with 14.5% uninsured, but that is not much to be proud of. In Massachusetts, where health insurance plans are partially subsidized by the state and people who opt out of health insurance have tax penalties, the uninsured rate for women is as low at 5.5%. Expanding health insurance coverage is essential for women’s health, so it’s crucial that women keep tabs on the health care proposals working their way through Congress.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid introduced a bill in the Senate that includes a public option, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the House version, which will expand coverage for 36 million Americans. The House bill even prohibits the consideration of being a victim of domestic violence as a pre-existing condition, something that is not yet outlawed in 8 states and DC. But Karen Ignagni of America's Health Insurance Plans is already opposing the bill, and so are Republicans.

It will still take work to make sure that the final reform bill is pro-health, pro-women, and pro-choice. To learn about how our current health care system is unfair to women, and to stay updated on how the reform addresses women's issues, Visit the National Women’s Law Center’s website at

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