Brace yourselves — it’s National Women’s Health Week! I hope you’ve been watching the Washington elite extoll Obamacare’s alleged virtues to mark the occasion. As they congratulate themselves, they’ll surely ignore how condescending it is to equate female empowerment to government dependency. Expect them to also gloss over the fact that a program supposedly designed to help women has banned the health insurance millions of us depended on and made access to care more expensive.
Ironically, the political class expects women to submissively believe that Obamacare is all unicorns and rainbows. But in my case, I’m among the countless women notified that my insurance policy is now illegal thanks to Obamacare. Please, disproportionately male politicians, forgive my naïve feminine skepticism when you tell me how great this law is.
I know it’s not just me – millions of women admire the trailblazing feminists who stood up against oppressive government to fight for equality. Today however, this legacy is tarnished by those who use the force of law to limit women’s health care options. In the spirit of National Women’s Health Week, let’s explore how the latest iteration of this war on choice is impacting women – especially those of us who happen to be Millennials.
— Obamacare increases out-of-pocket medical costs for women: Due to the fact that Obamacare plans feature high deductibles, women are disproportionately hit with higher out-of-pocket costs. This is because females generally require more medical care than our male counterparts. In fact, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women age 18 and older visited the doctor an average of 121 times more than men in 2010. Couple that with monthly premium payments that have risen an average 193 percent for the typical 30 year old woman, and you find that Obamacare is anything but affordable.
— Obamacare leaves working women with fewer hours and insurance options: One of the most damaging provisions in Obamacare is the employer mandate. Well-intentioned as it may be, forcing businesses with 50 or more employees to purchase medical coverage for employees that work 30 hours or more hurts a company’s bottom line. This unrealistic mandate doesn’t magically create more insured people – but it does force businesses to move more employees to part-time schedules. This has a negative effect on women, because 57 percent of part-time workers are female. When companies are forced to cut hours and there’s more competition for part-time work, women, especially single mothers, suffer. Additionally, Obamacare hurts working wives who used to be eligible for coverage under their husband’s health insurance, but no longer are.
— Obamacare limits women’s access to the doctors of their choice: In a failed effort to control costs, Obamacare plans are designed to have narrow doctor networks. This is particularly problematic for women who develop life-long relationships with their specialists, and especially their children’s doctors. If you liked your doctor before you signed up for Obamacare, good luck. Obamacare limits your access to the medical care you want in the name of “affordability,” all while there’s no actual market in health care with transparent prices that allow women to make informed decisions for themselves and their families.
Ultimately, the federal government simply cannot centrally manage the health care of 313.9 million Americans. Women should be empowered to make their own choices absent government mandates that limit our access to health care and negatively impact our economic prospects. Unfortunately, in that regard, Obamacare is a step in the wrong direction. The good news is that an educated female electorate can push for the right kind of change, which will empower us as informed individuals rather than forcing us to be part of a faceless government collective.
Women’s health care should be about options, access, and price transparency. The more government strangles choice and innovation, the less we’ll have of all three. During National Women’s Health Week, let’s promote women as the knowledgeable, self-reliant people we are, and finally put an end to the outlandish idea that government control is empowerment.