Time Ideas recently ran a disturbing article by Hadley Heath, a policy analyst for the conservative-backed Women’s Independent Forum, arguing women should pay more than men for health care. Why? Because women have babies. We live longer. We tend to seek more preventative care (read: we take care of ourselves).
In states across the country, women have long paid more than men for the exact same coverage (sometimes by as much as 50%). Starting in 2014, the new health care law will prohibit this “gender rating,” requiring insurers to charge men and women equal premiums for equal coverage.
According to Heath, this is a false sense of fairness. At the basis of her argument is that men and women do not seek the same care, and therefore should not pay the same premiums.
For one, women carry and deliver babies. As Heath herself points out, almost half of all first babies are born to single mothers. What she forgets to mention is that 63 percent of single mother families are living in poverty. Yet according to Heath, these women should be forced to pay higher premiums.
Men play a large role in making babies. Should they not share in the burden of those costs?
Heath also states that women live longer and visit the doctor more often. Yes, women undergo more preventative screenings for things like breast and cervical cancer. But despite the fact that more women die of heart disease, men actually receive more aggressive treatment. Men also receive more care for prostate cancer and liver disease.
Heath argues that individuals – not pools of people – should pay for what they consume. By that line of thinking, we should do away with insurance altogether. Not just health insurance, but car insurance, home insurance, fire insurance, life insurance. Insurance is founded on the notion that we receive better and more affordable care if groups of people pay into the system. Ultimately, some benefit more than others. Not only is that just the way insurance works, it’s a price we should be willing to pay to care for our society.
But what’s even more disturbing than Heath’s countless logical fallacies is the fact that she’s a woman – arguing against the rights of other women. We have a hard enough time fighting for equality in a male-dominated system. The least we could do is stick together.
Thumbnail photo courtesy: Esparta on Flickr