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Weekly Round-Up

Posted by Mary Robbins, Program Associate | Posted on: September 14, 2009 at 05:16 pm

by Mary Robbins, Program Associate, 
and Robin Reed, Online Outreach Manager, 
National Women's Law Center 

Moms Rising is hosting a blog carnival today on health care, including posts on individual families’ struggles with the health care system and calls for action on reform.

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Preventive Health Services – Saving Lives and Money

Posted by Amanda Stone, Fellow | Posted on: September 14, 2009 at 01:04 pm

by Amanda Stone, Volunteer,
National Women's Law Center

This post is part of a series on Women and Health Reform.

Someone’s grandma always said, “a stitch in time saves nine.” My grandma said things like, “that red lipstick makes you look like a vampire”-but that is beside the point. “A stitch in time saves nine” goes not only for your clothes, but also for your health! Seeing your doctor early to prevent future illness saves money and grief.

But what happens when you take the responsible steps to seek out preventive health care? Well, that depends. Let me give you some background. Eighty-five percent of American women ages 18-80 were covered by health insurance in 2008. Of those women, 57.8 percent received benefits from an employer (either their own employer or that of a family member). Slightly over 10 percent of American women received health benefits from Medicaid. Approximately 30 percent received benefits from other government sources. Fifteen percent of American women were uninsured in 2008. For practical reasons, your access to preventive care will depend in large part on your insurance status.

Let’s talk about the best-case scenario: What will one of the best available insurance plans get you? Potentially inadequate coverage! Allow me to present you with an anecdote from a young woman named Olivia. Fortunately, Olivia is covered under a comprehensive insurance policy. Unfortunately, her family has a strong history of breast cancer. Olivia watched her mother and her aunt each succumb to breast cancer at the age of 40. She is determined to avoid a similar fate. Accordingly, she found herself one of the best breast specialists in the country. She is lucky: this is something her insurance covers.

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Keeping Health Care Decisions in Our Hands

Posted by Micole Allekotte, Fellow | Posted on: September 11, 2009 at 07:05 pm

by Micole Allekotte, Health Fellow, 
National Women's Law Center 

This post is part of a series on Women and Health Reform.

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Women's Poverty Increases; Insurance Decreases

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: September 11, 2009 at 05:06 pm

by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security, 
and Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights, 
National Women's Law Center 

Imagine being a single mother to a 5-year-old daughter, losing a stable job, and becoming a statistic in the economic downturn. An uninsured and unemployed woman trying to get by on credit cards.

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Just Released: Victory for Equal Pay in the Courts

Posted by | Posted on: September 10, 2009 at 08:42 pm

In a triumphant development for equal pay, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled in favor of Mary Lou Mikula, holding that her Title VII pay discrimination claim had been erroneously dismissed on the basis that her charge was not timely.  The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) filed a petition to rehear her case, Mikula v. Allegheny County of Pennsylvania, relying on the newly enacted Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

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Just Released: Women's Private Health Coverage, Incomes Decline While Poverty Increases, Census Data Show

Posted by | Posted on: September 10, 2009 at 08:12 pm

Census data released today for 2008 show that growing numbers of women lost private health care coverage, saw their incomes decline, and fell into poverty, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). The Census data released today are for 2008 and do not reflect the impact of the decline in real wages, dramatic increase in unemployment, and corresponding loss of employer-sponsored health insurance in 2009.
“The Census data show increasing numbers of women are joining the ranks of the uninsured – at great risk to their health and financial security,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, NWLC Co-President. Compared to 2007, nearly half a million more women lacked coverage – bringing the total number of women without insurance in 2008 to nearly 17.6 million.

This increase in the number of women without coverage stems from the continued erosion of private insurance – primarily through the loss of job-based coverage. The increase would have been even higher if not for growth in public health care coverage such as Medicaid. “Women’s security and well-being – and that of their families – depends on Congress passing health reform legislation that will guarantee quality, affordable comprehensive health care for us all,” Greenberger said.

The data show that poverty and extreme poverty increased for women, children, and men. The number of women living in poverty increased by 800,000 since 2007 to a total of 15.2 million in 2008. “Women’s poverty was already higher than men’s, so this increase should be a wake up call to policy makers to take swift action,” stated Nancy Duff Campbell, NWLC Co-President.

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Just Released: Time to Get Reform Done

Posted by | Posted on: September 10, 2009 at 12:35 am

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) commends President Obama for reaffirming his firm commitment to passing meaningful health care reform legislation this year in his speech earlier this evening. 

The following is a statement by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of NWLC:

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Some Health Choices That Women Could Do Without

Posted by Brigette Courtot, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: September 08, 2009 at 04:00 pm

by Brigette Courtot, Policy Analyst, 
National Women's Law Center  

This post is part of a series on Women and Health Reform.

NWLC’s health and reproductive rights team does a lot of work around the importance of choice.  We advocate for reproductive choice, so that women can make important life decisions about whether and when to have children. We support choice in childbirth, because we believe that women and their families should be able to have a safe out-of-hospital birth if they so choose. And in our priorities for national health reform, we emphasize choice between public and private health insurance options, since women will benefit from the transparency, security, and competition that a public health insurance option promises. We support these choices because they promote a woman’s wellbeing.

But not all choices in health care are good.  When women can’t afford the health care they need, they are faced with choices that they’d be better off without.  In 2007, more than half of all women in the United States reported problems getting necessary health care because of cost.  They had a difficult choice between their own health care and other financial obligations, and the “other” won out.  Given the many responsibilities that women juggle every day, is this any surprise?  Imagine a young woman choosing between filling a prescription and making a student loan payment.  Or a mother choosing between a follow-up doctor’s visit and buying school supplies for her children.   Or a retiree choosing between a mammogram or paying this month’s electricity bill.  In a country with so many resources, that already spends so much on health care per capita, women should never have to make these sorts of choices. 

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