#64 Health Care Reform: A Woman’s Issue by Catherine DeLorey

April 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

In recent years there has been an overall dissatisfaction with the quality and cost of healthcare in US, but this state of healthcare disproportionately affects women. Access to health care is a women’s issue, not just because women comprise 52% of the US population but also because they are the major consumers of health care and are often in charge of their families’ health as well. While women make 58% more visits to primary care physicians, they actually pay a greater amount annually and out-of-pocket. Women are less lilkely to have insurance from work, and are more likely to be under-insured than men. These issues are compounded for minorities, with 38% Latinas, 23% of African American women uninsured compared to 13% of White women. In general, women are more likely to face barriers to getting proper healthcare. DeLorey suggests that healthcare reform needs to first make sure reproductive rights and care are given. Furthermore, that all women should have access to quality care, from a variety of providers and settings. Women need to unite to make sure women’s health is a priority while health care reform is underway.

DeLorey brings up several important points in this essay about health care. Women need more health services due to reproduction and yet are more likely to be uninsured or under-insured. The case is even direr for minority women, and especially immigrant women. While there have been some initiatives toward making women’s health a priority, there still is a lack of concern for the health of women in the debates. When I started to think about it, getting affordable care for things like pap smears and breast exams are difficult enough, what about the expense of childbirth? I have heard many families lament over the costs at the hospital for childbirth, but what other options are available? In a country without a major establishment of midwives, many women are unlikely to have alternative options to the expensive hospital birth. So far in the health care reform debates, I have not heard nearly enough talk about women’s health. Why does this issue remain on the back burner? What can we do to bring about more awareness and sense of urgency to the issue?

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