It was in Europe during the 1700’s that women began their global battle for suffrage and the right to vote. Years of blood and tears shed for equitable economics led the way for social change. This global consciousness resulted in a ripple that touched and altered forever the lives of countless generations of women. It was not until 1920 that their sisters in the United States earned their right to vote. Thereby becoming an integral part of how the struggle for gender parity in healthcare now stands out front and center. The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) has empirically argued that those countries where women are attaining an equitable voice in legislature are leading the charge in creating a higher quality of life and reforming healthcare. As the strongest economy on the globe, the United States is falling far behind in that war.
Women still lack significant say in how healthcare providers will tailor health related care for women. That path is arduous and complicated, pebbled by male centric sovereign politics. The world is lacking in a higher percentage of women representatives necessary to bring about healthcare parity. Nevertheless, one country who has taken great strides toward gender equality in its legislature is Finland. This sovereign state boasts a healthy 38% of female presence in its parliament and leads the world in healthcare reform empathetic to women.
Elected in 2000, Tarja Halonen is Finland’s first woman to be elected president. Serving in office for two terms, her legacy was in achieving the successful balance of her sovereign’s economy. Part of this responsible fiscal reconstruction was the reformation of their health care system. Envisioning a robust, value driven and cost effective medical system, she embraced the principals outlined in a Harvard business thesis, “Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results”. The Harvard team of Michael Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg authors the study. The study illustrates how most purveyors of private healthcare have failed to deliver a system of value-based care. Normal economic ideology dictates that aggressive competition in private sector business results in a lowering of prices and an increase in the value of that service. Private and governmental run healthcare agencies in the U.S. are the costliest in the world and supply the poorest quality in its deliverance of care. Finland‘s success in providing gender parity in a valued based healthcare system, is attributed to a strong percentage of women in parliament; a healthy 38 percent.
In 2007, the United States spent $7,290 per capita for an inadequate healthcare system. This number is a staggering two and a half times the average of OECD countries. The OECD places an average of per capita healthcare expenditures at $2,984. The CIA World Factbook has ranked the Unites States 41 in infant mortality rates and 46th for total life expectancy. Infant mortality is attributed to a healthcare system that has failed to provide adequate means of preventive medicine. Poor prenatal care results in low birth weights and infant survivability.
Why would taking away the individual mandate impair the full benefits of Obama – care?
In its simplicity, this system necessitates that everyone who lacks coverage by an employer or government sponsored insurance plan will pay a penalty. The exemptions are where religious belief or financial hardship prevents participation by an individual. Even those that cannot afford the penalty will be medically insured. This part of the plan is commonly known as the “individual mandate”. In 2007, the Joint Economic Committee of Congress estimated that 1.7 million women loss health insurance benefits because of a spouse’s job loss. Under the PPACA private healthcare as well as government, healthcare agencies will not deny coverage to individuals and families. The act provides that women with gender specific pre-existing conditions cannot be denied quality healthcare. Denial of gender specific health care is a discriminatory economic burden on women.
Women spend more money for healthcare than men do. Often for services related to preventative care. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will alter how healthcare providers will evaluate the true cost of delivering a value-based healthcare system. This will expand healthcare access to over 30 million Americans. The savings to the country’s overall healthcare budget comes in lowering projected Medicare spending, through preventive healthcare value based programs. By way of preventative care, the needs of many who seek expensive emergency acute care remedies are reflected in budgetary adjustments.
How will the individual mandate benefit women and children? The United States taxpayers spend about $11 billion per year for unwanted teen pregnancies. This includes the cost of incarceration of future offenders that are disproportionately the uneducated. This is apparent in the statistics of higher dropout rates directly related to teen pregnancies. Only 50% of teen mothers complete a high school education by the age of 22 years. Women who have not given birth in their teens complete high school at a rate of 90%. More important the lack of adequate wellness or value based healthcare systems impacts our educational constructs. Better education and control of reproduction offers women a pathway to economic success.
In addition to being often the sole parent of children, women comprise over 59 percent of unpaid familial caregivers. They devote more time to elder care than men do. This is their most common reason for exiting the work force. Women are most likely to take extended leaves of absence or to take part time work to be caregiver to sick family members. The cost of inadequate healthcare for women in the United States is disproportionate to that of other countries.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or Obama-care is a small step in the journey to achieving quality in healthcare for women. In 1979, the United Nations created the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. It states in its tenants as what constitutes inequities is as follows. “Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.” The United States is the only developed nation that has not yet ratified it.
A sovereign union must provide the economic mechanisms within its fiscal and monetary healthcare constructs for those unable to do so.
WHAT WILL BE THE ECONOMIC LOSS TO WOMEN IN IGNORING OBAMA-CARE?
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