McCain's Health Plan is 'Worse for Women'


10-27-08, 9:47 am

John McCain's health care proposal would endanger women's access to health care coverage and would fail to fully cover women's health needs, a joint study by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund revealed last week.

The study, titled 'Worse for Women,' focused on two key aspects of McCain's proposals. By eliminating tax incentives for employment-based health care coverage and taxing health benefits, McCain's plan undermines the employment-based system of health benefits, forcing women and their families to pay thousands more for health insurance.

According to the study, 59 million women and their families who depend on getting health care benefits through their jobs risk losing those benefits under McCain's plan. (This portion of the analysis also suggested that in addition to 59 million women, 101 million additional Americans also face losing their coverage if McCain is elected.)

In addition to this sweeping impact on working families, the study also found that McCain's plan to deregulate the health insurance industry, along the lines of the banking industry, would directly harm women.

McCain's deregulation proposal would allow insurance companies to avoid current state requirements to cover specific health care services, including screenings for cervical cancer and HPV, HPV vaccinations, contraceptives, maternity care, and breast reconstruction. In addition, McCain's deregulation scheme puts at risk coverage for access to gynecologists, breast cancer screenings, sexually transmitted diseases screenings, and coverage for pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy.

As many as 30 million women with pre-existing conditions could be adversely impacted, the study found.

'Rather than giving women more control over their health care decisions, as Sen. McCain promises to do, his health plan would take away women’s ability to access critical health care services,' the report noted.

In a statement, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said, “What McCain has proposed is a radical health care plan that would deregulate the health care industry, let insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, even pregnancy, impose a health care tax, would not guarantee coverage of cancer screenings, and would potentially leave millions of women who receive employer-based health insurance at risk of losing their coverage.”

The Center for American Progress Action Fund, a co-author of the study, found that the McCain health care tax would force many families to more for insurance. “For most taxpayers, McCain’s tax credit quickly becomes a tax increase,' the organization's spokespersons concluded. 'The value of the tax credit quickly falls behind rising health care costs, meaning most households with employer coverage today would soon see a tax increase. Families earning $40,000, for example, would receive a small tax cut in 2009, but by 2018 they will be paying more than $2,800 more a year in taxes.” In addition, soaring costs in health care adversely impact women more than men. The Guttmacher Institute reports that women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, in part because of reproductive health-related supplies and services.

The conclusions found in the report prompted the Planned Parenthood Action Fund this week to launch a new TV ad in the battleground state of Virginia, highlighting some of these finding.

See the ad here: