Health Care Reform: Detailing Women's Stake In The Debate

The New York Times Economix Blog looks at health care reform in the context of women's health needs. The Times reports: "Women need more health care than men because of the combined demands of pregnancy and family planning. ... Partly as a result, young women typically must pay more than young men for individual health insurance, unless they live in one of 10 states where 'gender rating' is illegal. Mothers often take primary responsibility for meeting children's health care needs. This is especially true in families maintained by women alone, which included 23 percent of all children under 18 in 2008."

Among other key findings, the Times reports: Many women gain access to health insurance through their husbands, making them more vulnerable as a result of male job losses and the possibility of divorce. "A recent report by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress estimates that about 1.7 million women have lost health insurance benefits as a result of job losses since December 2007" and nearly three quarters of these were because of a spouses' job loss. "Although fewer adult women than men lack health insurance, they seem to be more affected by insurance-related problems, including inadequate coverage. A Commonwealth Fund study released last May found that about 52 percent of working-age women, compared to 39 percent of working-age men, reported in 2007 that they had to forgo filling a prescription, seeing a specialist, obtaining a recommended medical test, or seeing a doctor at all as a result of medical costs" (Folbre, 9/27).

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