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Health Care Reform Has a Woman's Face

Posted by Jenifer Rajkumar, Fellow | Posted on: September 15, 2009 at 08:38 pm

by Jenifer Rajkumar, Fellow, 
National Women's Law Center 

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An Unstable Health Care System: A Girl's Best Friend?

Posted by Thao Nguyen, Director of Outreach | Posted on: September 14, 2009 at 06:26 pm

by Thao Nguyen, Outreach Manger, 
National Women's Law Center 

Yesterday I had one of those weird phone calls. The kind where, as soon as you get off the phone, you immediately go through your contact list looking for someone you can tell about it. The kind that makes you stop that downstairs neighbor you haven’t spoken to in three years and recount the story to her. The kind that inspires you to drop everything and write a post for your organization’s blog. On a Sunday night.
The call was from my friend, Lucy.* She was calling to tell me that she and her boyfriend of 10 years recently got married.

Okay, I suppose since you don’t know them this might not be mind-blowing to you. But Lucy and her beau, Dan,* had one of those painful relationships where the woman was hinting, making banners, and going just short of taking a full-page out in The New York Times to beg her boyfriend to propose to her — and he just couldn’t seem to get around to it. But Lucy, who works with bankers and lawyers for a living, has the patience of a saint.

And so 10 years have come and gone. Which makes today, for all the friends who have been rooting for her (and who may or may not have been condemning her boyfriend for his lack of action), a momentous time that rivals the recent replacing of judges. (Yeah – I was shocked by the Ellen announcement too.) 
So when I heard that the wedding, this miracle of all miracles, had actually taken place, I made some popcorn, got a glass of wine, and snuggled up on the sofa, expecting a long story about how Dan finally came to his senses. Only to have Lucy matter-of-factly tell me, “I don’t have a job anymore and the COBRA was too expensive. No health insurance, so marriage.”

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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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