Speaker Pelosi is reportedly meeting with female Members of Congress today. No doubt the intent of the meeting is to twist arms and threaten any Member who might be wavering about which way to vote.
Before meeting with the Speaker, those female Members should do a little reading. First, they should check out IWV’s new poll, which shows that despite what the Speaker might say, voters emphatically want them to vote against this health care monstrosity. They also might be surprised to learn that eight in ten women disagree with the statement “It is the responsibility of the federal government to mandate that everyone have government-approved health insurance and to be penalized if they do not.”
Female Members should also be sure to read this article by Grace-Marie Turner in the Wall Street Journal which examines Massachusetts experiment with mandatory health insurance. Here’s some highlights:
While Massachusetts’ uninsured rate has dropped to around 3%, 68% of the newly insured since 2006 receive coverage that is heavily or completely subsidized by taxpayers. While Mr. Romney insisted that everyone should pay something for coverage, that is not the way his plan has turned out. More than half of the 408,000 newly insured residents pay nothing, according to a February 2010 report by the Massachusetts Health Connector, the state’s insurance exchange….
Mr. Romney’s promise that getting everyone covered would force costs down also is far from being realized. One third of state residents polled by Harvard researchers in a study published in “Health Affairs” in 2008 said that their health costs had gone up as a result of the 2006 reforms. A typical family of four today faces total annual health costs of nearly $13,788, the highest in the country. Per capita spending is 27% higher than the national average. …
Further, insurance companies are required to sell “just-in-time” policies even if people wait until they are sick to buy coverage. That’s just like the Obama plan. There is growing evidence that many people are gaming the system by purchasing health insurance when they need surgery or other expensive medical care, then dropping it a few months later. …
The Bay State is also suffering from what the Massachusetts Medical Society calls a “critical shortage” of primary-care physicians. As one would expect, expanded insurance has caused an increase in demand for medical services. But there hasn’t been a corresponding increase in the number of doctors. As a result, many patients are insured in name only: They have health coverage but can’t find a doctor.
Fifty-six percent of Massachusetts internal medicine physicians no longer are accepting new patients, according to a 2009 physician work-force study conducted by the Massachusetts Medical Society. For new patients who do get an appointment with a primary-care doctor, the average waiting time is 44 days, the Medical Society found….
The difficulties in getting primary care have led to an increasing number of patients who rely on emergency rooms for basic medical services. Emergency room visits jumped 7% between 2005 and 2007. Officials have determined that half of those added ER visits didn’t actually require immediate treatment and could have been dealt with at a doctor’s office—if patients could have found one.
Finally, Members should remember that voting against this version of health care reform isn’t a vote for the status quo. There are plenty of ways that Congress can and should change the health care system to make the system work better for everyone—and particularly for women.