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Web Letter

The idea of trying to turn President Obama's national healthcare proposal into a gender-based identity politics issue strikes me as a trifle counter-intuitive, to say the least. Men don't need healthcare? Hospitals discriminate against women? Employers deny health insurance to females because they're female? I'm just not seeing the rationale.

I hate to be that guy who makes the cliché joke about liberals being out of touch with reality, but if the left is ever going to do anything beneficial for this society, its probably going to have to become more self-aware about how absurd its notions often appear to the vast, overwhelming populace of US voters. To wit, I suggest a future headline for the New York Times:

Planet Earth to Explode Tomorrow: Women & Minorities Will be Affected the Most, Experts Say

Kevin Riley O'Keeffe

San Jose, California

Aug 24 2009 - 2:23am

Web Letter

As usual trans women are left out completely.

Surgeries and hair removal for the transexual populations are literally life-saving procedures. Yet are routinely denied. Leading to suicide attempts and even self-mutiliation similar to what women did before abortion was legal. Often the suicide attempts are succesful.

Keep in mind that in our country suicides are usually double that of homicides.

How long must the trans community continue to suffer from a bona fide medical condition before help will arrive?

Keep in mind that most employers will not hire until the trans subject is post-op.

And for those that will argue the Bible: church and state are supposed to be separate, so keep your transphobia in the church.

Thank you to all whom have a functional brain and heart.

Crista Sadler

Decatur, IL

Aug 23 2009 - 3:45pm

Web Letter

I am absolutely furious that uninsured citizen women face "$7-10,000" in medical expenses arising from pregnancy and birth... why? Because millions of illegal immigrant women, throughout the country need only walk into a local clinic and hospital, which is mandated to provide services to anyone, and have their prenatal, maternal and child healthcare subsidized by the other patients and/or the taxpayer. Women are immigrating to the US from countries where women traditionally stay at home; first-generation Latina immigrants do not work outside of the home; in fact, latinas in general have low rates of employment in the US until the third generation, where they achieve equity with men. However, their fertility rate is the highest in the US.

The point is that it galls me and that professional immigrant advocates are demanding increasing "rights and privileges"--in addition to the benefits of free medical care--for illegal immigrants, at enormous cost to the country and to those single, working citizen or legal resident mothers who are uninsured.

Tara Murphy

Washington, DC

Aug 22 2009 - 9:50pm

Web Letter

First, that was an excellent discussion of the insurance implications of women's preference for part-time work. That factor is the cause of a huge part of the male/female income gap.

Insurance is an attempt to manage the spread of unknown individual risks within a calculable risk pattern. Once you know that some person has a greatly higher risk and much larger cost, it becomes an unfair financial burden to charge other, innocent people extra for their forseeable costs. If they share in the pooled risk at first, that is fair, due to chance, but not for a known cause. Would you voluntarily pay double to be cheated like that ? The insurance rule of pre-existing conditions is a moral attempt to facilitate fairness in the system. Known risk implies different rates for fairness.

Cavalierly dismissing the ordinary voters in local meetings has implications when you need their votes later. Many of them are swing voters, who can shift control of Congress.

One half-baked point within this half-assed project is the point I made in a letter several months ago. The states, but not the federal government, have the constitutional power to force people to buy insurance. This will have to be dealt with later.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Aug 22 2009 - 3:55pm

Web Letter

Pre-natal, Delivery and post natal-care are free in Canada. Almost all women have easy access to all services. Therefore, Canada's infant mortality rate is significantly lower than that in the US.

I do not live in a Communist country, I do not live in a Marxist country, and I certainly do not live in a socialist country. I live in a country where we are caring and look after each other.

Healthcare is a basic human right. I wish you and all your citizens good luck in achieving a decent healthcare system.

Devi Sangara

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Aug 21 2009 - 5:41pm

Web Letter

The individual health insurance market is certainly the Wild West of our dysfunctional health system, and it is true that in many states (such as Utah), maternity converage is almost never provided on the individual market.

New York, however, is a "guaranteed issue" state, meaning that anyone can buy an insurance policy regardless of health status, and maternity benefits are required, by law, to be included. It is true that most individual policies have a waiting period for maternity for the simple reason that, like Ms. Mulvihill, many people put off buying a policy until pregnant. Lacking a universal mandate, insurance companies obviously avoid "adverse selection." However, had Ms. Mulvihill chosen to buy an individual policy earlier, her pregnancy would have been covered.

New York City's Health and Hospitals Corporation offers their own "HHC options" plans, which aim to provide affordable care to all residents of New York (regardless, incidentally, of immigration status), including maternity care. There is no waiting period for pre-existing conditions.

The current system of insurance is ridiculous and untenable, but effective change is impossible without a nuanced understanding of the current situation, such as the importance of including a coverage mandate in any reform plan.

President Obama has been steadfastly against any mandate for adults.

Jenifer Lingeman

Salt Lake City, UT

Aug 21 2009 - 4:43pm

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