Insurance Inequality

While Doug Holtz-Eakin, John McCain’s flack economic adviser already pointed out the inferiority of the individual insurance market earlier this week, this piece by Robert Pear in the New York Times helps illuminate one way in which they’re bad for women:

This provides a perfect lens through which to examine the dogmatic myopia of conservative governing principles. As acturials referenced in the article note, health care is more expensive for women — especially those of child bearing age  — so therefore, the wealth is not spread around, and women pay more in the individual market. But as a Maine insurance superintendent argues, this approach is shortsighted:

Mila Kofman, the insurance superintendent in Maine, said: “There’s a strong public policy reason to prohibit gender-based rates. Only women can bear children. There’s an expense to that. But having babies benefits communities and society as a whole. Women should not have to bear the entire expense.”

This is precisely right; humans don’t exist in a vacuum. Certain “spreading” of resources works to enhance everyone’s outcomes.

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