Millions of American women would lose access to affordable health care coverage if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare, a new report by Jessica Arons from the Center for American Progress argues. Since women are more likely to consume health care services, use prescription medication, suffer from chronic illness, and face discrimination in the individual health market, they “will suffer the most” from a negative Court decision.
The report claims that to invalidate the law in part or in whole would turn back the clock on the health care system and ensure that women are routinely discriminated against because of their gender and denied coverage for basic benefits in the individual health care market:
Those without a source of employer-sponsored coverage must purchase health insurance in the individual market—a market that routinely discriminates against women. Through a practice known as gender rating, women pay $1 billion more in premiums than men each year for the same set of benefits. And even though they pay more, they often receive fewer benefits. Individual market plans often exclude essential health services for women, such as maternity care, contraception, and Pap smears. And women are subject to coverage exclusions by health insurance providers in the individual market for gender-specific “pre-existing conditions” such as breast cancer, Cesarean sections, rape, and domestic violence.
Due to their higher utilization of health care, their higher premiums and cost-sharing burdens, and the lower levels of coverage for women-specific conditions, women have higher out-of-pocket costs than men and are also more likely to experience medical bankruptcy. Women of reproductive age spend 68 percent more on their health care expenses than men, and non-elderly adult women are more likely to be underinsured, meaning that they have out-of-pocket costs that total over 10 percent of their income.
Women have gained so much from Obamacare, but stand to lose it all should the Court — or Republicans in Congress — undo these advances:
Read the full report here.