Health-care reform and women
Michelle Goldberg makes the feminist case for health-care reform:
The simple fact is that health-care reform, even with its awful provisions on abortion, will hugely improve the health of American women. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 17 million women are uninsured, and millions more are underinsured. "In 2008, one in seven privately insured women reported she postponed or went without needed care because she couldn't afford it," Kaiser reports. Women are more likely to rely on their spouse's insurance coverage, leaving them vulnerable if they're divorced or widowed, if their husband becomes old enough to qualify for Medicare, or if their partner's employer decides to drop dependent coverage, which is happening with increasing frequency. As a study by the National Women's Law Center found, "Overall, women are more likely than men to have difficulty obtaining needed health care (43% vs. 30%) -- a difference more pronounced for uninsured women (68% vs. 49%)."
The inequities of our health-insurance system are a major reason that the United States has higher maternal mortality than almost any other industrialized country. A new Amnesty International report on America's maternal health crisis suggests that things are only getting worse: "More than two women die every day in the USA from pregnancy-related causes. Maternal deaths are only the tip of the iceberg. Severe complications that result in a woman nearly dying, known as a 'near miss', increased by 25 per cent between 1998 and 2005. During 2004 and 2005, 68,433 women nearly died in childbirth in the USA." Amnesty points out that health-care reform, as currently constituted, will not solve this problem -- among other things, it will still leave too many uninsured. But it will almost certainly ameliorate the problem. And that's reason enough to back it.
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