John McCain’s Health Care Plan is Worse for Women

Brady Swenson

John McCain's plan to deregulate the health care industry would erode important state insurance requirements aimed at protecting women's access to basic health needs.

An opinion piece by Elaine Rose and Mo West in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer today argues that John McCain’s plan "to deregulate the health care industry would erode important state
insurance requirements aimed at protecting women’s access to basic
health needs:"

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?

In fact insurance coverage for birth control has increased greatly since 1993 when only 28% of employer-provided health plans covered a full range of contraceptive choices spurred by federal and state regulations requiring coverage.   Deregulating the health care industry adn removeing these requirements for birth control coverage and other reproductive health care services has a devestating impact on women, notes Rose and West:

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.

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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.

In addition deregulation of the health care industry is certainly not guranteed to expand health insurance coverage.  According to a recent study by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Center for American Progress Action Fund tens of millions of women would be at risk of losing their insurance coverage under McCain’s health care plan:

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.

 

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