Women and their families have unique, individual needs and preferences for health care and insurance. Repealing the ACA is the best first step to offering women (and men) the freedom to find and afford what they want in a robust, competitive market

Obamacare’s replacement allows women to customize their care at lower costs

By -- Hadley Heath Manning —— Bio and Archives--May 26, 2017

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DENVER — Women make the majority of decisions about care and insurance for our families, and we generally consume more healthcare than men.  As a result, women have a lot at stake when it comes to the laws that govern American health care and insurance.

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) made it illegal for insurers to charge women more than men, and it mandated that insurance plans cover women’s preventive care, including birth control, with no copay.

Therefore, some now suggest that repealing the Affordable Care Act would be a threat to women.  But the opposite is true: Repeal will allow women greater choice and lower costs when it comes to insurance plans, doctors and care.

The benefits from the ACA for women have been oversold

The benefits from the ACA for women have been oversold.  No copay birth control sounds like a gift, but savvy shoppers know the difference between “free” and “included.”

Rather than making birth control free, this provision simply forces women to pay for birth control without really seeing the price.  It’s rolled into the cost of insurance premiums, which have increased dramatically due to the law — even if men and women now both pay equally high rates.

The group that has seen the largest increase in costs under the ACA are women age 55-64.

Before the ACA, these women paid lower premiums because they were outside of their child bearing years, and didn’t have to buy costly maternity coverage. 

These women may also suffer from the flipside of the gender-equity coin; they are averaged with 55-64-year-old men, many of whom have high health costs.

ACA plans sometimes also provide coverage in name only: Often the out-of-pocket costs are too high, or the doctor’s networks are too restrictive, meaning women and men in these plans may not always have access to the services they need

ACA took away women’s choice in plans

Importantly, the ACA took away women’s choice in plans: Not only have the many regulations in the law limited what types of plans can be bought and sold, but over regulation has led to financial losses and insurer exits, leaving few choices for consumers.  In one in three U.S. counties, ACA customers have only one “option.”

Women deserve better.  Repeal would entrust women with the choice to determine what coverage they want – or don’t want – for themselves and their family.  And removing Obamacare’s regulatory burdens would reduce costs and entice more insurance companies to compete for our business, giving consumers more power. 

Support for repeal of the ACA does not mean returning to the previous status quo. 

We still need health reform; in particular we need to move beyond our employer-centric insurance system to allow for greater portability in plans, lower costs and more choice.

Women in particular need a strong market for individually-purchased insurance plans, since we are less likely than men to get insurance through work.

Many women suffer from expensive health conditions, and some may fear that without the protections in the ACA, they will be harmed.  But no one wants a policy where people die for want of care, and no one wants to see compatriots face financial ruin due to health costs. 


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Fatal flaw in the ACA’s treatment of women

That’s why the proposed replacement plan includes additional funding and protections to help people with pre-existing conditions.  There are better ways to address this issue than the ACA approach.

The fatal flaw in the ACA’s treatment of women, like so many other big-government schemes, is its misguided premise that all women are the same and want the same things.  This is wrong.

Women and their families have unique, individual needs and preferences for health care and insurance.  Repealing the ACA is the best first step to offering women (and men) the freedom to find and afford what they want in a robust, competitive marketplace.

Hadley Heath Manning is director of health policy at the Independent Women’s Forum, a non-partisan research and educational organization.  She graduated with distinction from the University of North Carolina with a dual major in economics and journalism.  Readers may write her at IWF, 1875 I Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20006

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Guest Column -- Hadley Heath Manning -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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