’ Mark Ryan (@RichmondDoc) October 17, 2012
Finally, a presidential candidate made the connection in a national debate. Fairly early on in the debate, a young woman asked what the candidates would do to solve the pay gap between women and men.
In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?Advertisement
President Barack Obama spoke first and mentioned the Lilly Ledbetter act and then the benefits for women in the Affordable Care Act. Then he made the connection between equal pay and access to healthcare.
“This is a pocket book issue for women,” he said. “And one thing that makes us grow as an economy is everyone participating.”
Women spend more for healthcare than men — $5,989 versus $4,541 — and have more healthcare expenses per year than men — 90.1 percent compared to 78.2 percent in 2008. They are also more likely to be a caregiver than men, which can mean out-of-pocket expenses, taking time off work, or quitting entirely to care for an elderly relative or a developmentally disabled child.
Despite the fact that we are excellent and frequent customers, women still pay more for insurance: More than 90 percent of the best-selling health plans charge women more than men. Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will prevent this.
Finally, women make less than men, so higher healthcare costs take an even bigger bite out of our paychecks.
’ Russell Buhr (@rgbMD) October 17, 2012
The Forbes article reported that:
Researchers from the University of Michigan Health System and Duke University found that among 800 physicians who received a highly competitive early career research grant, women earned an average of $12,194 less than men a year, when all other factors remained the same.
The other comment during the debate that leaped out at me was President Obama’s statement that equal pay and equal access to healthcare are FAMILY issues. Not women’s issues that don’t deserve a spot on the national agenda, but issues that affect everyone – men and women and children, even taxpayers. Unplanned pregnancies cost up to $11 billion each year, and Texas is finding out that getting rid of Planned Parenthood might not be such a great idea fiscally. Unplanned births in Texas could increase by 2,000 to 3,000, providers would need to expand 250 percent to accommodate former Planned Parenthood patients, and the decision could end up costing Texas between $5.5 million and $6.6 million, according to a new report from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.
Gov. Mitt Romney’s response to this question about pay equality was the Big Bird moment of this debate. He described his experience in selecting cabinet members when he was governor of Massachusetts. There were no women in the initial round of candidates, so he asked women’s organizations to find qualified women.
“They brought us binders full of women,” he said.
#BinderFullofWomen was soon a trending topic on Twitter and of course there is a website already.
[Image from flickr user Casual Wednesday]