I’ve just read a Huffington Post article on the issues surrounding women’s health and what’s needed in health care reform. The author pointed to the fact that nearly one in five women lacks health insurance, and therefore delays care. The article, of course, is meant to draw the attention of the Obama administration to the plight of women just as we sit down to discuss reform.
Uninsured Americans are more likely not to comply with medication regimens, seek needed care, or incur further debt if they can possible help it. They are also more likely to take jobs they may not be suited for and don’t like, and hang on to these jobs “for dear life,” to use an old turn of phrase, just because of the medical benefits.
When they are laid off, they lose their insurance, and very often since they are heads of households, their children lose, too.
Trust me, this is not a woman’s problem, however. You can skew the statistics any way you like, but men have the same problem, and in this recession men are being laid off faster than women. Last month, 663,000 more people lost their jobs. I see them in every Blueprint for Survival workshop, and their first issue is always health insurance. And if it isn’t, I make sure to bring it up because it should be.
When this recession is over, we will be confronting a profoundly changed America. We may have different kinds of jobs in different kinds of companies. Who knows whether the very companies we want to create “green” jobs, most of which are small and innovative (and not rich) can afford to pay benefits? Why should they have to?
I worry about how much of what has trickled out about Obama’s reform plans still depends on the old industrial economy with its big companies (that are now going under because of their health insurance costs) and employer-sponsored benefits. Putting it back on the employer just won’t work anymore. Nor will mandating that unemployed people buy health insurance.
There’s no way I want the health care system nationalized. There’s no way I want people to stop making a living.