Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Sexist Health Care Debate

The debate on health care in our country is a debate that is of much importance to everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, social class, or any other demographic you can think of. Think about it, people...it's our health we're talking about. More recently, the issue of our health care system has become a rather heated debate. Especially in terms of gender inequalities and health care, the topic has become even more heated in the last couple weeks. After reading an article on UsaToday entitled "Health care bills tackle gender gap in coverage," I felt it was my feminist duty to devote my blog to this article and what it addresses. 
Women's health groups, female senators, and other legal organizations have been fighting to change the way women are treated in the U.S. health care system, by trying to put a ban on insurance companies both charging women more for the same procedures given to men and requiring insurance companies to provide maternity care for women. There are some alarming statistics that have really contributed to the efforts of these organizations:
  • "Gender ratings" which consist of insurance companies being able to charge women more and even give companies with a higher female worker population higher group rates exist in 40 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
  • Victims of sexual assault can be denied insurance coverage in eight states and the District of Columbia.
  • Women can be denied maternity care if they get coverage while pregnant or can be denied coverage for preexisting conditions.
As Senator Barbara Mikluski (D-Md) said, "We pay more and we get less, and often we are denied care." Mikulski is also pushing for a legislative bill to be passed requiring insurance companies to include mammogram and Pap tests as routine health care for women. 
Things really became heated when Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona said in a legislative debate last week "I don't need maternity care and so requiring that to be in my insurance policy is something that I don't need and will make the policy more expensive." Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan fired back and interrupting Kyl saying, "I think your mom probably did." The Republicans fought back, defending Senator Kyl's words. His spokesman Ryan Patmintra stated that Senator Kyl and a majority of Republicans do not agree with "mandating certain types of coverage," as it drives up the cost of health care for everyone. He also said, "We just believe you should be able to choose the coverage you want."  What a nice way to make light of the fact that Senator Kyl doesn't believe women should have the same health care coverage as men. Here you can see the footage of Senator Kyl's comments...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Jj6pqajvB8

There are many individuals in the health care industry who are against sexist health case policies".Robert Zirkelbach of America's Health Insurance Plans said that "The industry supports eliminating pricing based on gender" and "we strongly believe that nobody should be denied coverage because they're a victim of domestic abuse." 
The issue of health care, especially in terms of gender, is something that us as feminists and concerned citizens should pay special attention to. We already know that women are far under-represented in our country's government and it would be a shame for women, especially mothers-to-be and survivors of sexual assault, to be denied of health care coverage because of the patriarchal nature of our society.

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