U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced the introduction of the Health Care for Women Resolution. The resolution, which was also introduced in the House by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), would ensure that national health care reform legislation would address the inequities in our current health care system by expressing Congress' support for providing greater access to quality health care for women.
"Women are the gatekeepers of their families' health. If we are serious about keeping children and families healthy, we must focus more attention on keeping women healthy," said Senator Stabenow. "Women must have affordable health care that they can rely on through their life transitions, including starting a family, working part-time or full-time, divorce, or caring for a sick or elderly parent."
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.
The resolution commits Congress to passing, within 18 months of adopting the resolution, legislation that guarantees health care for women and all individuals and establishes coverage that enables women to attain good health that they can maintain during their reproductive years and throughout their lives.
The resolution is cosponsored by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).