Act Now to Reform Health CareNovember 04, 2009
Health care reform is dominating the halls of Congress. The House is expected to take up the Democrat’s package by the end of this week, with the Senate scheduled to follow in the next few weeks. Yesterday, the House GOP leaders released their own draft of a health care reform bill. While there is no shortage of proposals for how health care reform should be achieved, AAUW’s emphasis is not on pushing one proposal over another but on ensuring that the program that ultimately emerges provides access to high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
We believe that three key elements must be included in any final health care reform legislation: an end to the practice of “gender rating,” coverage of women’s reproductive health services, and access to and coverage of preventive services and care.
Gender rating, the process by which insurance companies charge men and women different premiums for individually purchased health care plans, is a discriminatory practice that can result in women’s monthly premiums ranging from 4 to 48 percent higher than men’s. Reproductive health services are a basic element of women’s overall health care, and coverage of such services should be required. Preventive care services such as screenings, immunizations, and educational material will not only improve women’s health but also help reduce the financial strain on our health care system and improve the overall economy as a result.
Health care is intrinsically tied to economic security; this is particularly true for women, who earn less than men on average and use more health care services than men do. These two factors—less income, more costs—mean that women face a high level of health care insecurity. Reform is necessary now more than ever, and it must focus on the need for access and affordability in a way that is equitable to women.
There’s no time to delay; the time to act is now. Urge your members of Congress to support legislation that provides Americans with access to high-quality, affordable health care that is equitable to women.