The comments regarding Jacob Goldstein’s Health Blog in the Wall Street Journal made me want to run for cover. His article, Health Insurance May Stop Charging Women More Money evoked the haters on the Right to come out in full force. Goldstein discussed Senator John Kerry’s proposed new legislature, The Women’s Insurance Fairness Act. This legislation would effectively end higher insurance premiums for women, deny gender discrimination and require maternity coverage. Imagine that. I’ll refrain from my usual diatribes about the evils of insurance companies. I’d like to give my hypertension a rest.
Gender discrimination is a life-long battle and affects every aspect of our society. I had to ultimately “fire” my dry cleaner, (although he performed excellent work) because of his inequitable pricing practices. My husband’s shirts cost $1.29 to be cleaned, my blouses were $3.50. His suits were $8.50; mine $12.50. Every time I questioned the discrepancy, he’d give me a litany of incoherent excuses that made absolutely no sense.
According to actuarial tables, women outlive men by a factor of seven years, but does that justify charging us higher premiums? Oh, excuse me. We get pregnant — as if that’s a crime. Does the testosterone-dominated crowd over at WSJ realize that every living species on this planet enters life through the uterus of a woman? In the world of my youth, when a man or a corporate entity exploited a woman financially they were commonly called in the language of street vernacular . . . a pimp.
The insurers’ acknowledgment of a disparity against women gives me a glimmer a hope despite their attempt to arm-wrestle the government from providing Universal Health Insurance. Kudos to Senator Kerry for writing this outstanding bill. Healthcare reform may not arrive in the morning but at least we’re taking small steps in the right direction.