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What Really Hurts Women? Our Current Health Care System

Posted by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Counsel | Posted on: July 24, 2009 at 07:06 pm

by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Counsel, 
National Women's Law Center

This morning ten women members of Congress held a news conference on "how the Democrats' health care legisaltion [sic] will hurt women and affect their day-to-day lives."

The participants were Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA); Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN); Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL); Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN); Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK); Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC); Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX); Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS); Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY); Rep. Candice Miller, (R-MI); Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); and Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH).

While NWLC wasn’t invited to attend the press conference, I was interested to get my hands on some of their press statements – after all, NWLC is all about women getting the health care they need. From our perspective, the status quo is untenable: overall, 18 percent of women are uninsured. As we’ve pointed out on this blog many times before, even women who are lucky enough to have health insurance are still more likely than men to have health coverage that has too many gaps, from large deductibles and co-pays to life-time limits, and the exclusion of needed services (like maternity, for example) altogether. Women are also more likely than men to face challenges paying for their medical bills – making them more likely to skip necessary medical care. And then there’s gender rating – the insurance industry practice of charging women more than men for the exact same coverage.

Yet the challenges women deal with every day in our current health care system was most decidedly not the focus of the press conference this morning – at least as evidenced by the press release issued by Rep. Rodgers (R-Wash), available here.

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Take Action - Support Judge Sotomayor's Nomination

Posted by | Posted on: July 23, 2009 at 08:00 pm

by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President, 
National Women's Law Center 

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Tell Congress We Need Health Care Reform

Posted by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights | Posted on: July 23, 2009 at 07:31 pm

by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights, 
National Women's Law Center 

Every day, the number of Americans who lose their jobs and their health insurance increases. And every day, more and more Americans face medical debt that leads to home foreclosure and bankruptcy.

So why do some Members of Congress think that we can afford to wait for health care reform that meets the needs of women and their families?

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Failure to Protect? Yep, That's the Individual Market We Know

Posted by Brigette Courtot, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: July 22, 2009 at 08:04 pm

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

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

If you’re looking for more evidence that the individual health insurance market (that unwelcoming place where people buy coverage directly from insurance companies) is failing us in pretty much every way possible, add this new brief from the Commonwealth Fund to the pile. Aptly titled “Failure to Protect,” it uses findings from a 2007 survey to illustrate why the individual insurance market is anything but a reliable source for comprehensive and affordable health coverage. Consider these findings:

  • Most adults who shopped for coverage in the individual market found it very difficult or impossible to find a plan that fit their needs—they were either denied due to a preexisting health condition or were offered a plan that was too expensive or that didn’t cover the care they needed.  The majority (73%) never ended up buying a plan.
  • Adults who do purchase individual market plans spend considerably more on health care than those with employer-sponsored insurance (ESI); 51% of people with individual market coverage spent 10% of their income or more on out-of-pocket costs (all medical expenses, premiums, and prescription drugs), compared to 29% of those with ESI. Median spending for those with individual market coverage was more than twice that for people with ESI ($6,750 vs. $2,250).  
  • Those with individual market plans also report higher rates of problems with their coverage (e.g. dollar or visit limits on covered services, or expensive medical bills that aren’t covered by their plan) and are more likely to avoid or delay needed care because of cost.
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The Right to Equality: Why We Need the ERA

Posted by NWLC, Intern | Posted on: July 22, 2009 at 07:30 pm

by Amy Rosenthal, Outreach Intern, 
National Women's Law Center 

Earlier this week, I attended a rally for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Sound familiar? It should. The ERA was first proposed in 1923, and with 35 states independently ratifying it, it only requires 3 more states, or passage by Congress, before the ERA officially becomes the 28th amendment.

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Update: Senator Graham to Support Sotomayor

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: July 22, 2009 at 06:34 pm

by Amy Matsui, Senior Counsel, 
National Women’s Law Center 

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

Senator Graham, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, just announced on the Senate floor that he will be supporting Judge Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court, one day after Senator Sessions delayed a vote by the Committee.

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Sessions Delays Committee Vote on Sotomayor. Because He Can.

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: July 22, 2009 at 03:23 pm

by Amy Matsui, Senior Counsel, 
National Women’s Law Center 

The hearings are over, Judge Sotomayor’s answers to written questions have been turned in, and all that’s left for the Senate Judiciary Committee is a vote. But we will have to wait until next Tuesday for that to happen. The Committee was scheduled to vote on the nomination of Judge Sotomayor yesterday, but Senator Sessions, taking advantage of Committee rules, required that the vote be delayed for a week.

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