Fighting for Health Care Reform That Works for Women
Health care reform is one of the most important issues facing the nation right now, and it’s particularly important for women.
Health care is a woman’s issue, health care reform is a must-do woman’s issue, and health insurance reform is a must-change woman’s issue. That’s why my Democratic women colleagues and I have been busy fighting for equal benefits for equal premiums.
Today our health care system offers women skimpy and spartan coverage. It often doesn’t cover basic women’s health care like maternity care and O.B. services, or preventive care like mammograms and pap tests. Women are denied coverage because of “pre-existing conditions,” including C-sections, past pregnancies and domestic violence. We don’t believe in battered women, whether it’s in the home or in the insurance market place.
We women pay more and we get less. A 25 year old woman is charged up to 45 percent more than a 25 year old man with the same health status for the same policy. And once she reaches 40, it can be up to 140 percent more.
We women are here to fight for change - to end the punitive practices of insurance companies that discriminate on the basis of gender and pre-existing conditions. We want to protect and strengthen Medicare, to emphasize quality and prevention to save lives and save money, and to expand access to health care reform in a well-paced, phased-in and affordable way.
I helped write the HELP Committee’s bill, The Affordable Health Choices Act, to improve women’s access to affordable, quality health care. It stops insurance companies from charging women higher premiums or refusing to cover victims of domestic violence. It requires insurance companies to cover basic health care - like maternity care. And it requires coverage for screening and preventive services, like mammograms and pap tests, at minimal or no cost.
That’s what we are fighting for - equal benefits for equal premiums. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the issue.
In 2006, 1 in 3 births were by C-section, meaning coverage exclusions or rejection for tens of thousands of women.
In 2007, 15% of Maryland women were uninsured.
By 2016, premiums for family coverage are projected to reach $23,608.
64% of individual health plans do not include maternity care.
Links in This Story
Senator Mikulski on Women’s Health Care (Video)
Women of the Senate Talk Health Reform on Larry King Live (Video)
Roadblocks to Health Care (White House Report)
17 million women are uninsured - that’s about 1 in 5 women.
One in 10 women is covered under Medicaid.
More than half of all Medicare beneficiaries (56%) are women.
Three in five women have problems paying their medical bills.
Women are more likely than men to neglect care or treatment because of cost.
Most individual insurance policies exclude maternity care.
Only 20 states require private insurance companies to cover annual mammograms.