Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Health Reform Won't Benefit Women

By Diana Furchtgott-Roth | October 15, 2009 | Real Clear Markets

WASHINGTON-The Senate's Health Committee holds a hearing today, Thursday, to spotlight the effect on women of pending "health reform" legislation.

Some witnesses, including James Guest of Consumers Union and Marcia Greenberger of the National Women's Law Center, will argue that the Democratic health-care bills in the House and Senate would, if enacted, particularly benefit women. As another witness, I will suggest otherwise.

With three Democratic bills-two in the Senate, one in the House-to be melded, no one knows all the details of the measure that will reach the president's desk-assuming something does.

Despite good intentions, many aspects of these bills would leave Americans worse off than they are at present. First, people on Medicare and Medicaid, disproportionately women, would receive less care and possibly worse care.

Second, people of working age would pay more for health insurance, essentially because Congress is likely to insist on more generous benefits and to require that insurers cover even persons with a history of high-cost illness. This may be socially appealing, but it will have financial consequences which have not been discussed by the sponsors. Paying higher premiums will leave less income for everything else.

Third, by raising taxes, the legislation will discourage job creation and investment. That will hurt women more than men, because women exit and re-enter the labor force more often.

See why Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries are likely to get a lower standard of care

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