John McCain's health care plan is worse for women
By ELAINE ROSE AND MO WEST
Food prices are skyrocketing, the stock market has plunged and home values are dropping. Many of us are hoping things will get better, but if the future is worrisome, making ends meet right now has become a terrifyingly difficult task. One of the biggest concerns is the soaring cost of health care.
We need a president (and a governor) who is going to make smart decisions about health care. Both John McCain and Dino Rossi have shown that making affordable health care available to all people is not a priority, not even for children.
According to a recent study by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, McCain's health care plan is worse for women.
The study estimates that 59 million women who receive health insurance though their jobs, or their spouses' jobs, are at risk of losing their coverage. Thirty million women who suffer from a pre-existing condition could lose their coverage. Simply put, McCain's radical health care plan would deregulate the health care industry and put millions of women at risk. In Washington, 1,861,748 women, aged 19-64, who rely on employer-based health insurance, would be at risk of losing their coverage.
According to one recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, employee premiums for family coverage now cost more than twice what they did nine years ago.
The problem isn't confined just to the uninsured. Even for those women lucky enough to retain affordable coverage, McCain's proposal to deregulate the health care industry would erode important state insurance requirements aimed at protecting women's access to basic health needs. Rossi, Republican gubernatorial candidate, also supports a deregulated insurance market. In Washington, women are guaranteed direct access to their ob/gyns and insurance companies are required to include contraception in their comprehensive drug benefit plans. Under McCain's plan, those rights would be eroded. What good is insurance if you can't see the doctor of your choice and can't get the prescription you need?
Rossi, like McCain, has opposed policies that would improve women's health. Though it is now state policy, Rossi voted against requiring insurance plans that cover prescription drugs to cover prescription contraception. He also doesn't believe that pharmacies should be required to fill prescriptions for FDA-approved birth control. Rossi voted against funding family planning services for low-income people even when research shows that for every dollar spent on family planning services we save $4 in related health care costs. Like McCain's, Rossi's approach to health care harms women.
Reducing access to basic health care has a devastating impact on women. According to the Guttmacher Institute, women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, in part because of reproductive health-related supplies and services.
In the September/October 2008 edition of Contingencies magazine, McCain wrote that we should "open up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking." After the recent financial catastrophe, we've all seen just how disastrous an unregulated and excessively greedy banking system has been for our economy. We can't let the same thing happen to health care -- it's just too important.