The current debate over national health care insurance is often centered in Congress, with occasional sidebars contributed by talk-show hosts. Given that women are patients, caretakers and often first-responders in health care crises, Women's eNews has asked its reporters to dig out angles of the debate that directly impact women's well-being. We have a lot at stake in the outcome:
- Women are almost twice as likely as men to be covered as dependents in employer-sponsored plans, leaving them vulnerable if their spouse loses his job, they are divorced or they become widowed.
- Women comprise two-thirds of adult Medicaid beneficiaries. Thus, Medicaid covers 4 in 10 births in the United States and two-thirds of all family planning services. The current bills under consideration would dramatically change Medicaid eligibility criteria.
- More than half of all Medicare beneficiaries are women; of those over the age of 85, 70 percent are women. Congress is now considering requiring Medicare patients to pay more for preventative care, such as mammograms, Pap smears and bone density screenings.
- More than 17 million—18 percent-- of nonelderly women are uninsured.
- Childbirth and related conditions account for nearly 25 percent of all hospital stays.
- Few women have insurance that covers long-term care and they and their families often exhaust their savings to pay for such care out-of-pocket.
Women's eNews will continue our coverage of this issue vital to women's well-being. As the only independent news gathering organization dedicated to covering issues vital to women, we're committed to providing our readers with stories of substance.
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