May 15 2012
The Center for American Progress (CAP) released a study and a video today that explains three ways ending ObamaCare "will hurt women."
The three ways are:
1) No-cost preventative services like mammograms and contraception, would no longer be available to women without ObamaCare.
2) Without ObamaCare, insurance companies will be allowed to discriminate against women, charging them higher premiums than men.
3) Women will lose important protections, like new Medicaid eligibility, under ObamaCare.
You can watch their video here:
Well, to believe all the above, you have to have basically no understanding of economics.
First of all, "no-cost" services are actually extremely costly. When individuals pay for themselves, everyone buys what she needs and no more. Mammograms and contraception are actually among some of the cheapest health products available. Women can certainly afford them on their own, but when we all try to pay together, guess what... we over-consume and pay more. In fact, we encourage health providers and drug companies to raise their prices, since hiding the final cost to consumers (who are also taxpayers and will end up paying for these things one way or another) discourages price competition and artificially inflates demand. You may have heard the expression, "There's no such thing as a free lunch." Well, there's also no such thing as "no-cost preventative services." The costs are simply hidden (and higher).
Secondly, cost "discrimination" in health insurance is not sexist. It is an actuarial reality that women are more expensive health consumers. For health insurance companies to acturately assign our risk, gender is a factor. It's the same thing in reverse for auto insurance. Women (jokes aside) are safer drivers than men and file less expensive auto claims. This means that women, in general, pay lower auto insurance premiums. Women shouldn't have to subsidize the risky driving behaviors of men, and men shouldn't have to subsidize the health care decisions of women. However, many men do help pay for the care of their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters. They do this because they pay for health care as a family unit. And many a mother has paid her 16-year-old's son's auto insurance bill. Insurance is a risk-based industry, not a tool of the patriarchy to seek out and punish females.
Thirdly, we can do a lot better by low-income women than Medicaid. This "protection" in ObamaCare will actually condemn millions of women to the plight of Medicaid patients today: long wait times, poor care, and difficulty finding doctors. If we want to make health insurance more affordable, we should go a different direction entirely with Medicaid (much like a pilot program in Florida that gives Medicaid beneficiaries a choice among private plans), so that the individuals in society who are most in need can have a real safety net - not a false promise. Remember, health insurance doesn't equal health care, and a Medicaid card in your wallet is pretty worthless unless you can use it to access real, qualtiy health care.
Finally, CAP mentions some other provisions in ObamaCare that apparently "strengthen families." I can't resist commenting on the fact that young adults staying on their parents' plan "strengthens families." I'm sure all the jobless college grads who are moving into their parents' basement this month are so happy that their relationships with mom and dad upstairs will be "strengthened" by their dependency.
Come on, you call that "progress?"