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Weekly Round-up

Posted by NWLC, Intern | Posted on: August 17, 2009 at 09:02 pm

by Catherine Kruse, Outreach Intern, 
National Womens Law Center 

A New York Times article discussed women in military combat, and the changes that have affected women in the military since 2001. 

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Economic Data on Women Show More Than Meets the Eye

Posted by Valerie Norton, Public Policy Fellow | Posted on: August 17, 2009 at 05:22 pm

by Valerie Norton, Public Policy Fellow, 
National Women's Law Center 

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Improving Maternal Health by Including Nurse-Midwives: Kudos to New Jersey

Posted by Grace Lesser, Program Assistant | Posted on: August 14, 2009 at 08:00 pm

by Grace Lesser, Program Assistant, National Women's Law Center

This week, one governor’s signature signified a big step for maternal health. During a visit to the Newark Community Health Center, Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey signed a maternity health bill that would allow nurse-midwives the authority to make medical decisions around the disability benefits of their patients. 

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Paula Abdul and Pay Equity – an Expert Opinion

Posted by Robin Reed, Director of Online Communications | Posted on: August 13, 2009 at 07:37 pm

by Robin Reed, Online Outreach Manager, 
National Women's Law Center

You might’ve heard, if you’ve been following your entertainment news, that Paula Abdul is leaving “American Idol” due at least partly to a dispute over her pay. Abdul was said to earn millions less than her male co-stars Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest.

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Whole Foods CEO Fails to See the Whole Picture When it Comes to Health Reform

Posted by Julia Kaye, Former Health Policy Associate | Posted on: August 13, 2009 at 01:11 pm

by Julia Kaye, Health Policy Associate, 
National Women's Law Center 

I, like some Presidents who shall remain nameless, happen to be a big fan of both arugula and Dijon mustard. When I can afford it, I love to splurge on Whole Foods produce and dairy. John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc., clearly has a vision when it comes to creating a high-quality, environmentally-friendly grocery store.

However, his op-ed on health reform in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reveals a significant blind-spot when it comes to the realities of low- and moderate-income people’s lives and the barriers they, particularly women, face to accessing health care. Mackey argues that health reform as currently envisioned is too expensive and unsustainable; that health care is not an “intrinsic right”; and that first and foremost, American adults are responsible for their own health (just eat better, ok?). In addition, Mackey’s op-ed promotes eight health reform policies that fail spectacularly to address the challenges women face in accessing affordable, comprehensive health care—and in some cases, exacerbate them.

Let’s assess his op-ed point-by-point:

1)    Health reform is too expensive: Though Mackey includes the perfunctory “While we clearly need health-care reform” before arguing that we nevertheless can’t afford health care reform that will create “new unfunded deficits,” he fails to acknowledge the high costs of failing to pass health reform. The Urban Institute estimates in a new report that, “absent reform, total health care expenditures, public and private, will total $33.0 trillion, over the ten years 2010-2019.” Without reform, “there would be considerable loss of employer coverage, particularly among the middle class, and a substantial increase in the number of uninsured.” Additionally, “employer costs would also increase substantially, as would costs to individuals and families from higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs.”

Moreover, the House Tri-Committee health reform legislation (H.R.3200) raises questions about Mackey’s dire warnings of so-called “unprecedented new taxes” and “unfunded deficits.” The House bill is paid for fairly and responsibly. It achieves this through a combination of measures: reducing excessive subsidies to the insurance industry and pharmaceutical companies; reforms to slow the growth of health care costs; requiring individuals, employers, and government to share responsibility for obtaining or providing coverage; and proposing a progressive tax on the richest 1.3 percent of Americans for a total tax increase that is far less than the amount this group received from the Bush Administration’s tax cuts for the 2001-2010 period.

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