October 20 2009
Carrie L. Lukas
Politico reports that analysts are urging Democrats to target their health-care-reform pitches to women. They note all the women-specific provisions in the health-care-reform bills:
Maternity care would be guaranteed. Insurance companies could no longer charge higher premiums for women than men.
And insurers now allowed to label a Cesarean section or even domestic violence a pre-existing condition to deny coverage would be barred from the practice.
But proponents of health reform say women don't know what's in it in for them - and question why Democrats have been slow to target women with the same intensity that political campaigns pursue this key swing group.
Maybe, just maybe, it isn't that women "don't know what's in it for them," but that they actually have a greater appreciation for how the health-care system works, and the high price of these women-specific items, as well as the other more massive reforms, contained in these bills.
After all, women do tend to make health decisions for their families, including their husbands and sons. Could it be that some moms out there recognize that driving up the cost of individual insurance (for example, by requiring maternity-care coverage and forbidding gender-based price differentials) will encourage their 20-something sons to forgo insurance and health care all together? Perhaps some women are also concerned about the trillion-dollar price tags on these bills, and the effect that it will have on job creation and the economy. Women who have family members suffering from chronic illnesses may worry that the health-care bills will stifle medical innovation, lead to government-imposed rationing, and drive good doctors out of medicine.
Some women may even know that there are better ways to improve the health-care system, which clearly needs reform.
Democrats will certainly try to pitch their health-care plans to women, but they may have an uphill battle.