U.S. Senator Barack Obama today joined Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) to introduce the Health Care for Women Resolution in both the Senate and House. The resolution, which has already the support of 32 senators and representatives, would ensure that national health care reform legislation addresses the needs of women and families.
"The disparity in health care coverage between genders threatens the health and well-being of women and children across our nation. The Health Care for Women Resolution is our call to Congress and the next Administration to reverse this unfortunate trend and pass meaningful health reform for all Americans," said U.S. Senator Stabenow. "I will continue to push for equity in health care to ensure that this disparity comes to an end."
"As consumers, caregivers, family health care decision makers, business owners and providers, women have a very personal stake in fixing our broken health care system. It is unacceptable that more women are uninsured and pay more for health care than their male counterparts," said U.S. Representative Schakowsky. "Our resolution calls on Congress to pass legislation within 18 months that provides health care for women and health care for all. As a mother, grandmother and member of Congress, I will fight to make sure that women play a central part in every health care discussion."
"Every day, American women and their families are faced with tough decisions about their healthcare, and we must do everything we can to empower them with the knowledge and resources they need to make these choices," said U.S. Senator Obama. "Whether they're choosing doctors for their children or deciding what medications to take, we must ensure they are able to make healthy lifestyle choices that support and optimize physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. I understand the special and unique role that women play as healthcare consumers, caregivers, and providers, and I am committed to guaranteeing them access to quality healthcare."
"Today, doctors, scientists, Members of Congress, and the American public know that women and men have different bodies and different health care needs. Despite these differences, men's health needs have set the standard for our health care system and our health care research agenda," said U.S. Senator Mikulski. "This resolution recognizes the special role women play as primary caregivers and demands women have access to the health care they need and deserve. As Dean of the Senate women, I will continue to fight to make sure that women's health care stays at the top of our agenda."
"Women are the health care CEOs of America's families. With today's resolution, Rep. Schakowsky and Senator Stabenow make clear that no health reform is complete without the women's health piece of the puzzle. We applaud their leadership in setting this agenda for action," said American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists President Douglas H. Kirkpatrick, MD, FACOG.
The Health Care for Women Resolution would address the inequities in our current health care system by expressing Congress' support for providing greater access to quality health care for women. The problems with our current health care system and the rising number of uninsured disproportionately affect women and families. More than 17 million non-elderly women were uninsured in 2006, an increase of 1.2 million women since 2004. Women also pay 68 percent more than men for out-of-pocket medical costs. These disparities not only contribute to poor health for women, but they also affect the people they care for, including their children. Thirteen percent of all pregnant women and 20.4 percent of all females of childbearing age (12.6 million) was uninsured in 2006.
Cosponsors include Senators Barack Obama (D-IL), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY, Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and Representatives Paul Hodes (D-NH), Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH), Lois Capps (D-CA), Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Hilda Solis (D-CA), Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Donna Christensen (D-VI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Betty Sutton (D-OH), James Moran (D-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Tammy Baldwin (D-W), Pete Stark (D-CA).