October 08, 2009

CARDIN CALLS FOR GENDER EQUITY IN HEALTH CARE REFORM, APPLAUDS WOMEN SENATORS FOR THEIR LEADERSHIP ON THIS ISSUE

Washington, DC - U.S . Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), today voiced his support for reform legislation aimed at ending the bias against women in our health care system. He commended his women colleagues in the Senate for leading the fight for health care equality.
 
"Denying women maternity care or charging women more money for the exact same policy is simply unacceptable," said Senator Cardin. "I want to be assured that my wife, daughter and granddaughters can get the type of care they need, when they need it. Every woman in America deserves that same confidence.
 
"For too long the health insurance industry has gotten away with discriminating against women through higher costs, lower benefits and unacceptable exclusions. Consumer protections like these are at the very heart of the health care reform legislation working through Congress. We have a responsibility to act where the private insurance companies have refused."
 
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that just 14 states require policies offered in the individual market to cover maternity care.  A study by the National Women's Law Center of 3,500 insurance policies offered in the individual market found that just 12 percent included comprehensive maternity coverage. Eight states and the District of Columbia permit health insurers to deny health insurance coverage to survivors of domestic violence by labeling their experience a "pre-existing condition."
 
Senate health insurance reform ends discrimination against pregnant women and victims of domestic violence.  If passed the bill will prohibit insurance companies from issuing policies in the individual and small group markets that do not include coverage of maternity care services and prohibits insurances companies from denying insurance to anyone solely because they are a survivor of domestic violence.  The Senate health insurance reform also ends coverage denials for "pre-existing conditions."