Posted by: THF (HappyFeminist@gmail.com)
Image via: WebMD
Now, I know we're all freaking out about Sarah Palin's resignation and trying to figure out which scandal caused it. But there's other stuff going on in D.C. this summer! Like health care: a huge deal that has great timing right now and means a lot to Americans. About 22,000 people lose their lives in the U.S. every year due to lack of insurance. This is a national issue, and this needs to be addressed. And soon! But I did not know how exactly it affected women until I got on twitter and saw @daninespencer (Danine Spencer) post a link to a blog post she wrote. She quotes the following data (emphasis mine):
You can read the rest of this great, informative post here. She gets her data from a Kaiser Foundation report, found here.
"The good news is that most women do have health insurance.
- 64% have employer-based coverage
- 10% are on Medicaid.
- 6% have private policies
- 3% are enrolled in other government programs (i.e., military)
The bad news is that women are much more likely than men to be covered as a dependent on a spouse's employer-sponsored health insurance. (This may change as the "he-cession" continues.) Twenty-five percent of women (23.7 million) are covered as dependents. This makes them more vulnerable to losing their insurance if their spouse loses his job or the employer drops family coverage. They are also more likely to lose their insurance if they are divorced or widowed. (I know one woman who divorced her husband of 40 years when she was 62 years old. Since she wasn't eligible for Medicare yet, she had to negotiate for three years of health insurance in the divorce settlement.)Only 39% of women (37 million) have their own job-based insurance. These are the women the system is supposedly "working" for but health care costs are rising every day whether you have insurance or not."
But, as always, I put the good news up here. So here it is:
Obama is making a serious push for health care this year. This has to pass first, though, through Congress.
According to NARAL, "the Republican leadership on the Senate Finance Committee is demanding health care reform language that will take away access to women's comprehensive reproductive health services." You can take action on this issue here.
So I urge you today, really, really urge you, to contact your representatives and senators and tell them that women need health care reform and they cannot wait. Do not let this issue go by another year.
UPDATE: NOW provides us with more fun data: "insurance companies tend to charge women age 55 and under more than men for the same coverage, even without including maternity care."