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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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55 Responses

  1. jemand
    jemand October 22, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  2. Cara
    Cara October 22, 2009 at 1:11 pm |

    I stand by my previous stance on this. With the fact that 16% of American women have a disability, there’s a lot wrong with what is being left out of campaigns focusing on women being denied access to health insurance. All of the above is important, certainly, but it’s also certainly not any more important than the fact that people are being denied coverage due to disability and/or illness.

  3. Sarah
    Sarah October 22, 2009 at 1:11 pm |

    I highly recommend reading amandaw’s post at FWD/Forward and her blog about the problematic, ableist aspects of this discourse. It tends to imply that insurance discrimination based on “real” pre-existing conditions is somehow more acceptable. I realize that was not Jill’s intent in making this post, but we nevertheless need to look at this in a broader context. Eliminating insurance companies’ ability to discriminate because of ANY “pre-existing condition” will also eliminate these kinds of situations.

  4. thetroubleis
    thetroubleis October 22, 2009 at 1:44 pm |

    I agree with the previous two comments. My disabilities don’t make me a pre existing condition either. It comes across as this is step too far, but all the other clauses are understandable.

  5. Renee
    Renee October 22, 2009 at 2:45 pm |

    Personally I think no matter the reason, no one should be denied health care. I am disabled now in and the US I would not be able to find a single insurance company to cover me. No matter what the condition, the inability to receive proper medical care is tragic.

  6. tony
    tony October 22, 2009 at 4:21 pm |

    My best friend had to fight with her insurance company for months to get coverage for her D&C after her miscarriage. The insurance was calling it an abortion – even though she was taken to the ER by an ambulance and her medical records showed it was an emergency procedure – and denied her claim 2 or 3 times I think.

  7. moxy
    moxy October 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm |

    I hate it when people equate womanhood with motherhood. Just because I am a woman does not mean I will be a mother. So the above should talk about “motherhood” being a pre-existing condition, not being a woman.

    I get enough pressure to pop out kids from my dad. I don’t need it from a feminist website too!

  8. Jordan
    Jordan October 22, 2009 at 7:11 pm |

    I agree with Moxy. Forcing insurance companies to cover maternity care forces women without children to pay higher premiums to support women who choose to have kids. That’s not fair. We don’t need more government regulation forcing women to subsidize women who live traditional, heterosexual lives.

  9. Literate Shrew
    Literate Shrew October 22, 2009 at 8:17 pm |

    @moxy: This post is not pressuring you to have kids, your dad is. The post wasn’t equating motherhood with womanhood. However, women are the only ones who can give birth, so we’re the ones paying for it.

    @Jordan: Are you kidding me? What about solidarity? What about supporting other women’s choices? What about the fact that you’re freaking on this planet because some woman decided to live a “traditional, heterosexual life,” as you put it? And what makes you think all women who decide to give birth do so within a traditional heterosexual context?

  10. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub October 23, 2009 at 7:59 am |

    @moxy: If you had bothered to read the OP, you’d see that this pre-existing malarkey expanded to women who were in abusive relationships and raped women. NOT just motherhood–and I would argue that health care should cover treatments during pregnancy.

    Let’s not be douchey about this. Sheezus.

  11. Jordan
    Jordan October 23, 2009 at 9:23 am |

    Male premiums won’t budge, or at most negligibly, since cis men aren’t going to get pregnant and insurance companies will charge them accordingly. But insurance companies don’t know a given woman isn’t going to have kids, so they will raise my rates to pay for someone’s else choices. It’s hard to talk solidarity when some feminists are trying to get the government to penalize their childless sisters.

  12. thetroubleis
    thetroubleis October 23, 2009 at 10:15 am |

    I see it as an investment and human right, not penalization.

  13. PharaohKatt
    PharaohKatt October 23, 2009 at 10:52 am |

    In Australia, pre-existing conditions are covered, as long as you wait the required time (12 months).

    And premiums are based on what sort of coverage you want, so you can opt out of things you don’t need (like maternity care) and therefore not pay for them.

  14. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub October 23, 2009 at 11:04 am |

    Oh, please. Male premiums could increase with the spectre of ED drugs and illnesses and conditions that are more likely to affect men (prostate cancer, etc.). Insurance companies don’t know if a given man will have ED or choose to use ED drugs, yet I don’t hear any guys whining about how they have to pay for other men’s choices.

    And I say this as a child-free feminist. I’m not going to get bent out of shape over a pregnant woman getting prenatal care and possibly treated for pregnancy-related conditions such as gestational diabetes.

    Honestly, this “concern” sounds an awful lot like a rhetorical diversion.

  15. Crys T
    Crys T October 23, 2009 at 11:25 am |

    Every time I hear comments like those Jordan made, I thank god I live in the UK and have NHS care.

    Great to see the practice of using apparently feminist/progressive terminology (e.g. “traditional hetereosexual”) in order to express socially conservative, downright selfish and just generally morally-bankrupt-nearly-to-the-point-of-sociopathic positions is still going strong. Nice one, Jordan.

    1. Cara
      Cara October 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm |

      It’d be nice to avoid another derail, but re: “sociopathic positions,” see the comments in this recent thread.

  16. jemand
    jemand October 23, 2009 at 11:37 am |

    yeah, please, you may be childless, but on average women will need to be having 1-2 children each to maintain our society etc. We really do depend on other generations, the ones before us, and the ones after us, no matter if we personally decide to have children or not. And it’s certainly possible to get pregnant outside of “traditional heterosexual roles” etc. Turkey basters anyone?

    But if it wasn’t possible to charge more due to demographics, the cost would be spread out fairly and would be affordable for everyone. And it’s always possible that marvelous healthy you might get hit by a bus and deal with disability and fight your “current marvelous” insurance company because your premiums are now unpayable– or you’re dropped completely. What’s the point of “insurance” if it doesn’t ensure your ability to maintain health?

  17. P.T. Smith
    P.T. Smith October 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm |

    It’d be nice to avoid another derail, but re: “sociopathic positions,” see the comments in this recent thread.

    “Sociopathic” does not mean the same thing as “sociopath” or “sociopathy.” Sociopathic allows for shades of meaning which include simply asocial or antisocial behaviour and do not extend to the medical meanings.

  18. Andrea
    Andrea October 23, 2009 at 1:16 pm |

    Why shouldn’t we be willing to pay a little more to make sure that women who choose to participate in the continuation of our species (I, by the way, do not happen to be one of them) have proper care? And why the hell shouldn’t men be willing to pay a little more so the women who have to carry around their offspring are covered? I will gladly pay more in taxes or fees or whatever the hell if it insures that everyone gets the coverage they need. The emphasis on individuality at the expense of community in our society is absolutely disgusting. When an insurance company pays out for anything, that money is coming from somewhere, so everyone who pays into the system always helps to cover everyone else. I hope you don’t expect all of those children to help pay for your care in your old age, Jordan. Good luck making it in society all on your own. Now please fall off the grid so you don’t benefit from anyone else’s work or tax dollars (that includes, roads, infrastructure, sanitation etc).

  19. Kathleen F.
    Kathleen F. October 23, 2009 at 1:25 pm |

    Cara and Amanda make some very good points, and thetroubleis points out a problem even with the title of the post–no PERSON should ever be defined as “a pre-existing condition.” “I Am Not A Pre-Existing Condition,” when applied to a post that outlines just some of the pre-existing conditions that prevent people from getting healthcare, does leave the implication that some other people, with other conditions, might be “pre-existing conditions,” which is dehumanizing.

    Still, while we need to be careful to avoid ableist pitfalls, I do think it’s of value to point out just how many of the insurance companies’ prohibited pre-existing conditions are issues that only or primarily affect women. It’s obvious that the insurers consider some bodies “normal” and worthy of care, and the body that they consider most normal and therefore most worthy is not just any old fully abled body: it’s a fully abled cis male body. I feel like the more we point out what a tiny, tiny slice of people are considered acceptable by insurers, the more people will get the idea that shit needs to change.

  20. amandaw
    amandaw October 23, 2009 at 5:30 pm |

    Still, while we need to be careful to avoid ableist pitfalls, I do think it’s of value to point out just how many of the insurance companies’ prohibited pre-existing conditions are issues that only or primarily affect women. It’s obvious that the insurers consider some bodies “normal” and worthy of care, and the body that they consider most normal and therefore most worthy is not just any old fully abled body: it’s a fully abled cis male body.

    O…k? This reads to me like “Because I am singled out for having privilege, let’s rearrange this a bit so that my privilege is completely erased and people without that privilege have to smile and nod and pretend like I’m not implicated at all, because we’re in one other group together.”

    That isn’t how it works.

  21. La Lubu
    La Lubu October 23, 2009 at 5:54 pm |

    Funny how the only time some folks get bothered about “choices” is when it’s a woman’s choice that a man can’t make, specifically: giving birth, terminating a pregnancy, or using prescription birth control. I have yet to hear of anyone saying that a broken arm sustained in a bicycling accident, or a broken leg from skiiing, or a sprained ankle from running ought not to be covered, because physical activities of that nature are a “personal choice.”

    News flash to moxy and jordan: sexists are not going to treat you like a man simply because you haven’t, and don’t plan to, give birth. No matter how many times you remind them that you aren’t like those icky women who do.

    Co-sign to Sheelzebub and Kathleen F. No one is mentioning the high expense of ED treatment (so, kindly kill the concern trolling over “traditional heterosexual life”—insurance companies that cover ED drugs aren’t doing so to make things more fun at the Jackhammer Lounge), and yes, the “normal” body in the eyes of the insurance industry is a cis, male, nondisabled body. All other bodies need not apply.

    That includes yours, moxy and jordan. Now, which side are you on? (y’know, since you’re the one that used the term “solidarity” while offering the opposite)

    Speaking of “traditional heterosexual life”, where’s this mythical husband you’ve conjured up for me? Where the hell is he? I want him to pour me a margarita, cook dinner, give me a foot rub, and fuck me silly, in that order. And tell him he better hop to it.

  22. Jordan
    Jordan October 23, 2009 at 7:31 pm |

    Sheelzebub-

    Male premiums will not go up from mandating private plans cover maternity care. If we switched to single-payer, men would have to pay for women’s health problems and we would have to pay for men’s health care. That is not what the OP was on. It was criticizing governments for not forcing insurance companies to include maternity care in all plans.

    Jill-

    Even if we switched to a socialist health care system we would not be able to provide every medical service to every person that needed it. We would have to pick and choose how to allocate resources. I would be fine having public dollars going towards public health care just not for strictly voluntary conditions such as pregnancy. I think it’s telling that rather than engage with my objection to the government forcing a transfer of dollars from one group of women to another for a lifestyle choice, you attempted to frame me (incorrectly) as a right-wing opponent of any public welfare programs.

    Jemand-

    I don’t see maintaining our current population level as necessary. If the white share of the population dwindles due to few people having children, I don’t care. I don’t think the world is in such great shape environmentally either that we should be encouraging population growth or maintenance for its own sake. Also, I made no claims about my personal health insurance which is irrelevant to whether women should be forced to pay for other’s voluntarily incurred expenses.

  23. Jordan
    Jordan October 23, 2009 at 7:37 pm |

    Furthermore, I don’t post on feminist websites to seek validation from men, thanks for the implication, La Lubu. Also, I never claimed that the insurance industry was OMG perfect.

    Also, I didn’t introduce “solidarity” into the argument, Literate Shrew did in Post #9.

  24. La Lubu
    La Lubu October 23, 2009 at 9:02 pm |

    Also, I didn’t introduce “solidarity” into the argument, Literate Shrew did in Post #9.

    I noticed that. But she is in favor of solidarity—of healthcare for every body. Everybody pays into the same pot, everybody gets the healthcare they need, when they need it. You want women who bear children to have to pay higher premiums. You want to enjoy the same low premiums that men enjoy for not giving birth. You want men who impregnate women to benefit from low health insurance premiums, while the women who bear their children to have high insurance premiums. Mind telling me how that’s “feminist”?

    Look, I call it like I see it. You didn’t come here advocating that nearsighted people should pay higher premiums, because they use glasses or contacts. You didn’t say that diabetics should pay higher premiums because they need insulin or other maintenance meds. You didn’t say people with a history of cancer should pay higher premiums because chemotherapy is expensive. Perhaps you didn’t do that because this is a thread on pre-existing conditions and how the lives of some people are totally devalued in the form of health insurance denial (which, in the U.S., pretty much takes you out of the healthcare loop entirely—no, the ER can’t deny you care if you’re actively dying, but once you’re out of immediate danger you go right back to square one—no means to obtain or maintain health if you have a chronic condition).

    Funny how in the midst of all that, you single out pregnancy as the condition you’re willing to throw people women under the bus for having. On a feminist site.

    Do you understand what the healthcare debate is about? That what the insurance industry is fighting for is a mandate for everyone to purchase an individual plan (if they aren’t already covered by a group plan), with the added bonus of a pot full of tax dollars to assist people who fall under an as-yet undefined income threshold for an individual plan with individual benefits?

    Now ask yourself—who is that likely to benefit? Think real hard. Gee….could it be “the insurance industry”?

    The insurance industry doesn’t like group coverage. They grin and bear it, because it’s a large chunk of change. But what they really want is more individual coverage. Easier to manipulate. Easier to cut. Don’t be fooled by the “no rejection for pre-existing conditions”—there isn’t any language to protect people who have “pre-existing conditions” from having to pay a higher price for the crime of not having a body that insurance companies can profit from. Keep that in mind. They make money by not providing service.

    So….who is least likely to give them that profit? People with disabilities. Older people. People with a chronic health condition. People with an adverse health history. Aaaannndd, women of childbearing age. And of all things, you’re pissed off that you’re lumped in with the “women of childbearing age” category. You want to know how you can get that coveted position of “low risk/good health insurance consumer” and the ensuing affordable coverage. Fuck everybody else.

    That’s some feminism you got there, sister.

  25. Kathleen F.
    Kathleen F. October 23, 2009 at 9:23 pm |

    Fair enough, Amandaw, probably I am trying to protect my privilege. I do think there’s a place for discussing the specifically gendered nature of the pre-existing condition crap, but I don’t want to suggest that the specifically ableist nature is any less problematic, and yes, that’s an easy trap to fall into. I apologize for misinterpreting “try not to fall into this ableist trap while talking about this” as “just don’t talk about this.”

  26. Jordan
    Jordan October 24, 2009 at 1:50 am |

    La Lubu,

    The point I raised is I think it’s inappropriate for the government to require some women to pay for other’s voluntary life choices.

    In your response you take the time to point out that the insurance industry wants to turn a profit and point out that this means they either deny coverage or charge a large number of people more money. That’s true but… You offer no justification for why the choices of some women need to be funded by all women. Men will not pay higher premiums when maternity care is a forced inclusion in every plan but women will. You are supporting the government make one subset of women pay more– childless women. It’s not a general tax on society to provide health care for all. It’s essentially fining women for being childless. I don’t think women should be punished for being childless. That’s my feminism, sister.

    Furthermore, your mention of the individual mandate was out of left field. It is a bad idea but it wasn’t a focus of the OP or any of my posts. Please respond to my specific point, before attacking my feminism. Thanks!

  27. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub October 24, 2009 at 4:46 am |

    Jordan, women already pay higher premiums now. We already pay co-pays more often now. And many of us who are pregnant have been denied health insurance because it’s a “pre-existing condition.”

    It’s disingenuous for you to claim that insurance companies will raise rates because of this. They already charge women higher premiums, and that’s before women buy maternity care plans.

    From the linked article:

    But women still pay more than men for insurance that does not cover maternity care. In the individual market, maternity coverage may be offered as an optional benefit, or rider, for a hefty additional premium.

    In general, insurers say, they charge women more than men of the same age because claims experience shows that women use more health care services. They are more likely to visit doctors, to get regular checkups, to take prescription medications and to have certain chronic illnesses.

    So much for insurance companies encouraging preventive care.

  28. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub October 24, 2009 at 6:41 am |

    That is not what the OP was on. It was criticizing governments for not forcing insurance companies to include maternity care in all plans.

    Actually Jordan, the OP was NOT just about maternity care–it also covered how women who have suffered domestic violence have been denied care/coverage, and how routine, preventive procedures such as mammograms are not covered. Before you lecture me about the subject of the OP, perhaps you should read the frakking thing.

    As I pointed out above, women are charged more than men currently–I find it telling that you only care about the discrepancy when it’s between women. Are you okay with men paying less than women?

    Women are paying more–even before maternity care.

  29. La Lubu
    La Lubu October 24, 2009 at 9:02 am |

    The point I raised is I think it’s inappropriate for the government to require some women to pay for other’s voluntary life choices.

    And again, why do you single out pregnancy as the one “voluntary life choice” you don’t want to see covered? Please clarify. I offered examples above. Do you believe that injuries suffered as a result of playing sports or exercising should be covered? What about injuries suffered as a result of occupational choice? Health conditions that could conceivably be the result of not following proper healthcare maintenance or physician’s instructions?

    Because the course of action you advocate—not pooling risk in some form of group coverage (be it the public option or a single-payer plan), but focus only on the individual, so that individuals who have the “right” bodies “win”—is exactly the attitude that brings about the concept of “pre-existing conditions”.

    You think you have an escape clause in the fact that you won’t be (or think you won’t be—have you had your tubes tied?) giving birth, but that isn’t the case. What this post points out to a lot of folks who think they dodged a bullet by having the “right” body (i.e., no chronic health condition or disability)—all those people who quietly think to themselves, “damn! am I glad that’s not me” and are content to sit back and whistle Dixie while others (those with nonprofitable bodies), are left stranded—guess what? You aren’t immune, either. There are all kinds of things that make a person’s body nonprofitable. And yeah, we’re all in this together. We sink or swim together. Deeming certain others as dead weight and throwing them overboard isn’t an option in my feminism.

    As for the idea that it’s only you and other women without children who will pay higher premiums—not true. I am fortunate enough to be in a group plan. Neither the men in that plan, nor the women who don’t procreate, pay more because of me. Everyone pays the same. Individuals without families pay the same as those with families. The risk is shared by all, and as a result, people who would otherwise not be able to afford insurance or not be able to get insurance at any price have it. And it’s all affordable because of that risk-pool sharing. (Yet another benefit of being in a labor union!)

    We (the royal “we”—all of us) don’t need health insurance. We need health care. We should all, all, all have access to healthcare, and the only way to make that workable is in a group. I am in favor of single-payer, but I’m willing to settle for the public option (for now). No public option, and the Democratic party may as well close their doors—they’ll lose the votes of their die-hard constituency (not just mine. For the love of all that’s holy, we need a Labor Party in this nation, pronto!)

    You offer no justification for why the choices of some women need to be funded by all women.

    First, explain to me why you single out pregnancy as the one choice you don’t want to see impacting your coverage. (I’m assuming you take the same attitude toward birth control and abortion, since that is another area of coverage men don’t deal with, no?)

    Oh, and on the “inappropriate for the government to pay….life choices….yadda yadda”, I’m assuming you are against any and all of the following: public elementary and secondary education (let parents pay for their own children(s) education!), public colleges and universities (let those deadbeat students get a job and pay a private university!), public libraries (hey! two words! Barnes and Noble!), public roads that are primarily used by personal vehicles (everyone who deserves to live can afford to live where there’s public transportation!). Or are those things ok, because you use(d) them? It’s only the services you don’t personally need, or don’t personally need right now, that you are opposed to funding?

    (again, you can call that attitude a lot of things, but feminism ain’t one of ‘em)

  30. La Lubu
    La Lubu October 24, 2009 at 9:13 am |

    What Sheelzebub said at #30. Individual coverage is already penalizing women from the start.

    Jordan: specifically, what forms of healthcare coverage do you think individuals ought to pay extra for? What health services do you think ought to be exempt from any government mandate for insurance companies to provide in exchange for receiving tax dollars and forced individual payments?

  31. amandaw
    amandaw October 24, 2009 at 9:49 am |

    You offer no justification for why the choices of some women need to be funded by all women.

    This attitude is the problem.

    Oops! You touched the burner on the stove by accident and require treatment for the burn.

    Why should I have to pay for your choices?

    Well, maybe because you paid into insurance exactly to cover things like this that might happen, knowing that it also might not happen.

    Health insurance is not a fucking savings account. You don’t get to choose what you know will happen to you in your lifetime and pay to cover only those things and never anything else, only for you and never for anyone else.

    It is INSURANCE. You pay a premium. That goes into a big pot. Something happens to a person who paid into that pot. Now they get their care paid for because they put something into the pot.

    This idea of “choices” and responsibility for them and such — just doesn’t make sense in the context of HEALTH INSURANCE.

    Of course, it isn’t meant to make sense. It’s meant to shame people for failing to be sufficiently Society-Approved(tm) and make the shamer feel better about hirself because sie is totally better than all those people.

    This is why even nondisabled women should care about this shit. Because the attitudes that lead to us getting denied coverage are the same attitudes that will also lead to YOU getting denied coverage. And that’s if you luck out and manage to never have any sort of injury, disease or chronic condition for the rest of your entire life. Most people don’t have that luck, so they might want to pay attention to what PWD are telling them right now.

  32. Jordan
    Jordan October 24, 2009 at 10:21 am |

    Sheelzebub-

    It was not “disingenouos” of me to claim that mandatory maternity coverage would raise premiums for women. I never claimed that in the absence of them, women and men would pay identical rates only that requiring them would raise them.

    Also the paragraph you cite rebuts you: maternity coverage may be offered as an optional benefit, or rider, for a hefty additional premium

    (Sorry don’t know how to format it in the grey block)

    Also the line about encouraging preventative health care.

    You are right that I misspoke that the post was about required maternity care. That was only part of it and I was incorrect to give that impression.

    La Lubu-

    It’s great that you have such amazing health coverage. Most people aren’t fortunate enough to be in labor unions these days. Those without such benefits will face higher premiums;

    Also, you seem to think that one must either support all state services and regulations or none. False dichotomy. Although I will explain why public schooling is legit, imo, and not maternity care. In the absence of public schools, many children will not have great educations or things to do during the day. A spike in crime rates is something worse averting as is making the price of professional services more affordable for everyone. More affordable because better schools lead to greater numbers of scientists, engineers, lawyers, etc.

    I agree that a general opposition to government services isn’t feminism, but neither is general support.

    Once again the OP was not about the individual mandate. I, however, don’t want to match a giveaway to the insurance industry with another bad policy.

    I would like to see you justify the legitimacy of this required condition. The onus is on you as you advocate a new policy and the use of state power to force a transfer or wealth.

  33. lauredhel
    lauredhel October 24, 2009 at 10:22 am |

    Just to clarify the Australian situation for those wholly unfamiliar with it – PharaohKatt is talking about private health insurance, which is, in the maternity context, largely for those who wish to birth in a private hospital (or with their choice of private obstetrician in a public hospital). All Australians have access to public hospital maternity care under State-funded universal cover, though not all have access to publicly-funded midwifery attendance at homebirth.

  34. amandaw
    amandaw October 24, 2009 at 10:25 am |

    I would like to see you justify the legitimacy of this required condition. The onus is on you as you advocate a new policy and the use of state power to force a transfer or wealth.

    Actually, the onus on you is to stop being such an asshole.

    Oops. Wait. I’m supposed to be watching my tone.

    The onus on you is to stop flaunting your privilege and insisting everyone else justify their right to deviate from the Society-Approved(tm) standard of which you are so enamored. Nobody has to justify their right to exist and be treated with dignity and respect.

    The people who demand such a justification will never be happy with any justification they receive, anyway: they’re not offering to help you if you just _____; they’re just rubbing your nose in their shit.

  35. chava
    chava October 24, 2009 at 10:44 am |

    The “choices” argument only makes sense if you go to a system essentially without insurance. That’s the only way it is “fair.” Ok, “fair” in the sense that it sucks for everyone, but at least it isn’t as hypocritical as the “oooh, fat people and women who have babies should have to pay more because they brought this on themselves!”

    Speaking of “traditional heterosexual life”, where’s this mythical husband you’ve conjured up for me? Where the hell is he? I want him to pour me a margarita, cook dinner, give me a foot rub, and fuck me silly, in that order. And tell him he better hop to it.

    Can I borrow him when you’re done? Thxkbye.

  36. Cara
    Cara October 24, 2009 at 11:42 am |

    Although I will explain why public schooling is legit, imo, and not maternity care. In the absence of public schools, many children will not have great educations or things to do during the day. A spike in crime rates is something worse averting as is making the price of professional services more affordable for everyone. More affordable because better schools lead to greater numbers of scientists, engineers, lawyers, etc.

    Actually Jordan, that only explains why you think that public schooling is “legit.” It doesn’t explain why you think that insurance being required to cover maternity care is not.

    You see, without maternity care, many women will not have access to care that will keep them healthy and/or even save their lives or the lives of their babies in the event of a high-risk pregnancy or sudden complication. Thus, both a lack of public schooling and a lack of access to maternity care has dire consequences. Why do you believe that the world having more lawyers is more important than the world having more living women? Why is a lower crime rate good for everyone, but women’s health not? Why do you value the former, to the point of being willing to fund it, but not the latter?

    Further, as always comes up when people whine about not wanting to “pay for” fat people, or smokers or undocumented immigrants, it’s no big secret that a lack of access to primary care increases costs for everyone over all, as emergency rooms cannot turn people away regardless of their ability to pay. So, you see, failing to want to cover these cases is actually a whole lot less about money, and a whole lot more about punishing people who we see as immoral and imposing on our lives simply for doing something that we do not agree with. And I’m just not seeing how it’s not the same here. Because let me tell you something: even to me, a woman who has absolutely no desire whatsoever to ever have children, that’s exactly how you’re coming across.

  37. Jordan
    Jordan October 24, 2009 at 11:44 am |

    La Lubu,

    Pregnancy is different from injuries due to sports or diabetes due to unhealthy eating or cancer due to smoking or working with industrial carcinogens because it is easily terminated. Yes, a life of inactivity and poor eating might make you sick. And you messed up, that’s true. But you can’t just go into the ob-gyn and end the condition with an extremely safe and common surgical procedure.. With pregnancy you can.

    Amandaw,

    When you purchase health insurance you can choose what coverage to get. You can decide I will pay this much money to know that these conditions will be covered (or hope, since the insurance companies can play shenanigans).

    Also, you seem to misunderstand how the health insurance works. People are charged premiums to compensate for the risk the companies believe they pose. Insurance doesn’t mean everything ever is automatically covered. You pay into the pot for the right to receive compensation for a specific set of circumstances.

    I would also appreciate if you would keep the discussion civil and not resort to name-calling. I hope that’s not asking too much.

    You also claim that I will never change my mind and will never accept a justification. That is a worthless argument. I could only prove you wrong by switching my position. Unfortunately, you have offered no convincing arguments.
    Chava-

    I disagree that only a system without any health insurance is fair. Do you think that it’s wrong for a group of people to get together and make a pact with others that says if one of us breaks a bone they’ll cover it so they don’t have to worry what will happen in the future. I don’t.

    I also don’t understand the charge of hypocrisy. I did not advocate that I be compensated for maternity care and others not. I also explained my reasons for supporting some form of state aid and not others. I do not see the contradiction in my positions.

    1. Cara
      Cara October 24, 2009 at 11:50 am |

      Yes, a life of inactivity and poor eating might make you sick. And you messed up, that’s true. But you can’t just go into the ob-gyn and end the condition with an extremely safe and common surgical procedure.. With pregnancy you can.

      So you think that women should feel forced to have abortions they don’t want because they cannot afford to continue a pregnancy?

      That is extraordinarily far from pro-choice. I certainly hope that you don’t call yourself such. Because I’m sitting here in complete and total horror that you actually wrote those words and thought it was a good idea to publish them.

  38. amandaw
    amandaw October 24, 2009 at 12:04 pm |

    Also, you seem to misunderstand how the health insurance works. People are charged premiums to compensate for the risk the companies believe they pose. Insurance doesn’t mean everything ever is automatically covered. You pay into the pot for the right to receive compensation for a specific set of circumstances.

    Actually, I understand it just fine, considering it’s basically my second job to keep up with all the blocks put in my path to accessing the care that IS covered and that I DID pay for through my health insurance.

    People are charged premiums. Those premiums go to the insurance company, who has administration to perform, marketing to do, CEOs to pay and so forth, but also actually does pay for health care for the people who have paid those premiums.

    However, what is covered by your insurance has absolutely nothing to do with “personal choice” as you are framing it. You are covered for thousands upon thousands of things which, in all likelihood, will never ever happen to you. But, in all likelihood, *some* of them will, which is why you are buying insurance in the first place. Because you can’t predict which ones will.

    You are making it into this very straight and linear, I-choose-what-to-pay-for-because-I-know-it-applies-to-me deal. It’s not. Otherwise you would be purchasing a la carte — ulcer coverage, bronchitis coverage, broken fibula coverage, melanoma coverage. Which, in the end, is not insurance. It’s paying out of pocket.

    Whether a choice is morally approved of actually has very little to do with what insurance covers. You seem to think it does. That’s lovely, but it doesn’t make it true. You’re sitting here blathering on about a complete non sequitur. “Choice” has nothing to do with insurance coverage; otherwise, your burns from touching the stove would not be covered. But they are.

    Unfortunately, you have offered no convincing arguments.

    … and that is exactly the point. For your sort, no one ever could.

  39. amandaw
    amandaw October 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm |

    After all…

    You did CHOOSE to go out to the grocery store and buy food for dinner, where you touched something on a shelf that had germs on it and led to you contracting influenza.

    You also CHOSE to get in a car and drive yourself to work, knowingly exposing yourself to the possibility that someone might T-bone you while you were quite legally driving through a green light.

    I mean, you CHOOSE to live your life, right? Why should I pay for your choices? You’re sitting here telling me you shouldn’t have to pay for MY choice to live MY life in a reasonable manner, so I don’t see why I can’t reciprocate.

  40. meloukhia
    meloukhia October 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm |

    Well, that concern trolling was lovely, but it would be nice to talk about the substantive issues here now.

    I think it’s important to highlight the fact that many “pre-existing conditions” disproportionately affect women at all stages of life. Discrimination against women by health insurance companies is a feminist issue with a lot of intersections; it intersects with disability rights, with economic freedom (when you can’t get insurance you need to pay out of pocket for health care, and that can really inhibit economic freedom and class mobility, two common issues for women), and also with racial issues, because women of colour are less likely to get the care they need in a timely fashion.

    Whether or not you are personally affected by it, there’s a chance that you may be, someday, and there’s the issue that improving quality of life for *all women* has a tangible social benefit. Now that is something worth talking about.

  41. Jordan
    Jordan October 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm |

    Cara,

    I force no one to have an abortion. I force no one to carry a pregnancy to term. I do not vote for politicians who use state force to prevent women from obtaining an abortion legally.

    I am pro-choice. You seem to have a very narrow view. Libertarians and even Rand worshippers are extremely pro-choice. Yet they are against all government funding. Are you implying that you get to decide who is pro-choice? Disagreement with you on a matter of health-care policy is enough to get one lumped in with the anti-choicers? That is bizarre. Many women do not have the funds that would cause them to have an abortion. Yet many of us spend money on things other than other’s abortions. You can call that selfish and it is. For instance, I buy locally grown-food because it’s tastier. I could use that money to pay for abortions. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-choice. Please treat language more carefully.

    Amandaw,

    People can buy insurance for things that probably won’t happen to them, that’s fine. They can also buy coverage for things that they will cause to happen to themselves. I simply don’t want the government mandating women’s dollars go to promoting child-bearing.

    Once again, you attempt to dismiss disagreement as a symptom of someone who refuses to accept reason rather than someone who just has not been offered a convincing argument. That’s not an argument, it’s simply an excuse so you can feel that you’re always right and those that disagree with you are always wrong.

    Cara,

    I do not think having children is inherently immoral. Many things are morally neutral. That doesn’t entitle them to be supported by the dollars of women.

    Also, I am not punishing women who have children. I’m simply not giving them extra help because they have children just as I do not go to government and argue that I should be granted their money simply because I do not have children!

  42. thetroubleis
    thetroubleis October 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm |

    I hear some folks even have the nerve to choose to work in dangerous jobs.

    I suppose it it just sucks to be them if they get hurt because they weren’t living up to some false standard that makes them real people who deserve health care.

  43. La Lubu
    La Lubu October 24, 2009 at 1:48 pm |

    I would like to see you justify the legitimacy of this required condition. The onus is on you as you advocate a new policy and the use of state power to force a transfer or wealth.

    I think the fact that 86% of women in the U.S. give birth over the course of their lives speaks to the fact that this is standard, basic healthcare. Not a “rare, special rider required” service. I’m not advocating a new policy. I’m advocating the extension of the already-existing policy of Medicare. Speaking of the use of state power to force a transfer of wealth (brava! niiice conservative dogwhistle catchphrase! so subtle!), I’m sure you’re out there with a bullhorn and picket signs right now protesting the fact that men are paying the same percentage into Social Security and Medicare supplement that you are, even though (statistically) you are going to live longer. Right? You do believe that you should be paying more in the interest of fairness, because you aren’t about that pesky pooling and transfer of wealth stuff.

    Come to think of it, many people with disabilities have shortened lifespans because of their conditions (you probably thought I was going to bring up the adverse effects of the stress of discrimination, lack of job opportunities, lower pay, lengthier unemployment, scrambling to access health services and job/educational accommodations, fighting insurance companies for coverage, fighting the medical establishment for treatment and/or respect…..that sort of thing, didn’t you? Naahh, I’m just talking about diagnosis for now). So, mind explaining to me why your able-bodied ass should be reaping the benefits of the Social Security and Medicare that so many disabled folks aren’t going to live to collect enough (or any) of? Why you shouldn’t be paying more on that basis, since you don’t want that government-forced transfer of wealth? Or is the government-forced transfer of wealth cool when it benefits you?

    Pregnancy is different from injuries due to sports or diabetes due to unhealthy eating or cancer due to smoking or working with industrial carcinogens because it is easily terminated. Yes, a life of inactivity and poor eating might make you sick. And you messed up, that’s true. But you can’t just go into the ob-gyn and end the condition with an extremely safe and common surgical procedure.. With pregnancy you can.

    You still haven’t explained why the circumstances above should be treated differently from pregnancy—why those circumstances shouldn’t also fall under the terms of “special riders” at a hefty charge. Why shouldn’t skiiers/bicyclists/runners/gym rats take the safe and common step of…taking up crossword puzzles or chess instead, if they don’t want to pay the hefty added premium for an “exercise rider”? Or again, is this all about impacting you? because your statement earlier:

    Although I will explain why public schooling is legit, imo, and not maternity care. In the absence of public schools, many children will not have great educations or things to do during the day. A spike in crime rates is something worse averting as is making the price of professional services more affordable for everyone. More affordable because better schools lead to greater numbers of scientists, engineers, lawyers, etc.

    seems to clinch it. Pregnancy coverage as nonstandard care (thus, too costly for most women to afford) would only affect pregnant women and their babies. You can make the leap in your mind to a lack of schools meaning more crime (that might impact you), but hey—women are used to taking the lumps in this world. Let “those” women take some more. Nothing will happen to me. Again, some feminism you got there. Feminism willing to throw other women overboard to drown.

    meloukhia is right on. I’m done with you, jordan. Time to get back on track about the real issue—how declaring certain bodies as out-of-bounds and thus not deserving of care (or…as jordan intimates, not deserving to be covered unless they can come up with the insurance company unilaterally-decided price for life) impacts each and every one of us no matter what. That’s the backdrop we’re working against. That so many people, including women who are more likely to be penalized under this system, have internalized the idea that we have to justify our presence and our bodies….make our bodies conform to the system rather than the system conform to our bodies, is….disappointing, so say the least.

  44. Jordan
    Jordan October 24, 2009 at 2:08 pm |

    La Lubu,

    The fact that many people may make use of a service does not imply it should be funded by state mandate.

    I do think Social Security is flawed. However, you might not know that people with disabilities can qualify for Social Security payments regardless of their age.

    Your post does nothing more than try to trap me in an inconsistency. You offer no defense of the state action you support.

    I have no problem with people with high-risk hobbies paying higher premiums.I never argued they should be subsidized by cautious peeps. I’m glad you seem to think there’s no problem with it either! Unless of course

    Also, simply because a government policy exists does not mean it should be extended into the private market. I’m pretty sure you know that. I for one hope you don’t think the mere existence of a regulation justifies its expansion.

    Yes, so go on. Keep advocating that women who make certain choices will end up paying more money and get nothing back. Because hey, as long as the women you pick out for arbitrary reasons, get some money, it’s all great.

    When you decide you want to subsidize violin lessons, let me know. Because I’ve always wanted to play in an orchestra!

  45. Kathleen F.
    Kathleen F. October 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm |

    The whole discussion of which “lifestyle choices” (barf) should be covered makes me wonder who the people arguing for limited coverage are trying to benefit.

    Insurance works by pooling risk; determining how risky a particular insured person is depends on huge numbers of factors, huge numbers of details about how people live their lives. Okay, fine, so if we theoretically wanted to get the best possible risk assessment for each person seeking insurance, we could collect MOUNTAINS of personal data on them and therefore be able to underwrite with a high degree of accuracy.

    Oh, wow! Superior underwriting! That’s a GREAT thing…for the insurer. It doesn’t benefit the insured at all; it just increases the insurer’s profit. Meanwhile, the insured have to deal with the fact that this giant corporation that literally has the power of life and death over them now has a mountain of hugely personal information about them…sex life, eating habits, hell, maybe even what blogs you read. This cannot be good for anyone–even if you think your premiums might be lower under such a system.

    You can go around believing you’re a superior person who deserves to pay less, or you can have the freedom of not having your life controlled by a tyrannical corporation. You can’t have both.

  46. meloukhia
    meloukhia October 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm |

    There’s a lot of great food for thought in this Congressional memorandum (warning, it’s a .pdf) about rescission; they unfortunately do have not have stats by the numbers, but I think it’s telling that a lot of the cases they report impact women. And I was surprised to learn that when one person gets dropped from a policy through a rescission action, apparently the insurance company can cancel the whole family policy, which sounds like bad news bears to me.

  47. » Why Women Want Health Care Reform Galesburgers for Health Care Reform

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  48. Ishtar
    Ishtar October 26, 2009 at 4:15 am |

    I am amazed and appalled. The insurance companies’ stance renders me nearly speechless.

    I am South African and here we have free medical care (in government hospitals) for pregnant women, children under 6 and the elderly (from retirement age). Granted, too many hospitals are chronically under-staffed and equipped but there is still some kind of care. At many hospitals there is first class care. For example, Red Cross Children’s Hospital is the only dedicated hospital for children on the continent and is known for the excellent care it gives its young patients.

    Those of us who choose private medical insurance have a choice: either a hospital plan only, which means you cover all your day-to-day expenses yourself, or hospital plan plus medical aid.

    It’s not a perfect solution and its expensive but most of the important stuff is covered. In fact, maternity cover is seen as a selling point by these companies. They know that good maternity cover will bring in more clients.

    When I was researching my medical insurance options I spoke to a consultant who was eager to tell me all about his company’s maternity cover.

    My plan allows up to 3 days at a private hospital (5 days if there are complications) and everything is covered. It also includes a certain number of prenatal scans, checkups, blood tests and prenatal classes.

  49. jemand
    jemand October 26, 2009 at 8:49 am |

    also note… dna sequencing is getting progressively easier and cheaper. If we don’t stop this “pre-existing” conditions business NOW we will soon be barcoded at birth with expiration dates at which we will no longer be served with health care. We also will be required to pay premiums in direct correlation with our dna results. I’m so glad I choose my genes before deciding to show up on this planet, aren’t you?

    And I guess I was away this weekend and wasn’t able to reply– of course I don’t think it’s necessary to keep up our current population growth, but the kind of population CLIFF we would reach if we immediately went to .01% of women having children instead of women averaging around 1 or 2 would have truly disastrous social effects. Even what is considered incredibly LOW fertility rates is still on the order of one child per woman.

    I find it pretty disingenuous that the answer to “women of childbearing age pay more” isn’t to regulate the industry and force both men and women to pay the SAME amount, but to penalize poor women by forcing them to abort. (question, as abortion coverage is ALSO usually considered as some “extra” or “rider,” does jordan advocate using a wire hanger or something if you just can’t manage to pay for the proper health care? How ’bout poor people just be cooperative and commit suicide already? I mean, that’s passively the point she’s driving at.)

  50. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub October 26, 2009 at 9:17 am |

    My point in my first post to you was that women are already paying more in premiums, before pregnancy is included. One reason given for this is that it’s because we use healthcare more (yet then insurance companies are supposed to encourage preventive care because it’s cheaper than treating full-blown chronic illnesses/conditions–we can’t win for losing).

    Pregnancy is different from injuries due to sports or diabetes due to unhealthy eating or cancer due to smoking or working with industrial carcinogens because it is easily terminated.

    First of all, there is no difference. You’re talking about pregnancy like it’s a choice that women make–a lifestyle choice–that you are being unfairly penalized for. Playing football, with its attendant risks for head, neck, and joint injuries, is also a choice (and not a necessity). You can choose to be a construction worker or girder walker or electrician and be injured quite severely on the job (why not choose a different job?). Also, I could argue (and there ARE people who argue in all seriousness) that diabetes is a chronic illness that is very easily preventable through better choices, therefore we shouldn’t pay for their healthcare. Same with cancer or heart disease. All very easily prevented.

    As far as terminating a pregnancy, you have no idea what you’re talking about. There are a lot of places where getting an abortion is damn near impossible, while perfectly legal. Many insurance plans don’t cover EC and birth control–something that, you know, prevents pregnancy (because birth control and having sex is a lifestyle choice for the bitches, apparently). It makes my skin crawl–as an unapologetic childfree woman, BTW–that we should push women into aborting wanted pregnancies through economic coercion. Women who, by the way, could easily afford to raise a child but whose prenatal care (and care for any of the life threatening conditions that can come from pregnancy) is prohibitively expensive. And really–having kids is a perfectly valid thing for people to do, it’s not a privilege for the very wealthy only.

    You seem to have an almost pathological resentment against mothers. You’re sounding like the flip side of the natalists. Seriously–the two camps should go to an island somewhere and have themselves a gladiator death match, but leave your personal squickiness about other people’s choices to have children or not out of policy. It’s bad enough that women like me get crap from the natalists over birth control and abortion, I don’t need to see pressure from the other side.

  51. Jordan
    Jordan October 26, 2009 at 11:19 am |

    Sheelzebub-

    I am leaving people’s preferences to have or not have children out of public policy. You are the one who supports regulation to extend public policy into that very personal decision.

  52. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub October 26, 2009 at 11:23 am |

    I am leaving people’s preferences to have or not have children out of public policy.

    But you’re not. You want to penalize women who get pregnant by saying they made the choice and should pay up, yet ignore people who engage in other risky behaviors that increase their chances for severe injuries or illnesses with long-lasting effects. You’re insisting that it’s all about choices when it comes to pregnancy, but not about anything else–not for risky occupations, hobbies, or pastimes. Not for risky behaviors or habits. Just about pregnancy. Quite a bias there.

    Pregnancy is not different from these other things just because you say it is.

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