National Partnership for Women & Families Home page What's New Newsroom Get Involved Publications FMLA QandA HIPPA Guide Employment Who We Are Take Our Quiz

Join the National PartnershipJoin the Email Update List

Health Care

Boehner/Goodling Package of Bills is Bad Medicine for Women

For women and families, few issues resonate as profoundly and pervasively as the need for comprehensive patient protections. Both women and men care deeply about this issue, but women have a particular stake in how people are treated by our health care system. Here is why:
  • Women are the nation's primary health care decision-makers and consumers.
  • Women spend most of our health care dollars.
  • Women are the majority of enrollees in managed care plans.
  • Women have unique health care needs that include, but go beyond, reproductive health.

The Boehner/Goodling package of bills before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will not give women and families the comprehensive and common-sense protections they need. Each bill in this package is seriously deficient, and addressing this issue in such a piecemeal fashion means that it will be impossible to offer amendments that will add the important protections women and families need. This package of bills:

  • Does NOT ensure that women can have direct access to ob-gyn services from the participating health care professional of their choice.

  • Does NOT provide a genuine external appeal when care is denied (this is important to women because they handle the bulk of insurance issues for their families).

  • Does NOT ensure access to clinical trials that may save women's lives.

  • Does NOT ensure that pregnant women can continue to see the same health care professional throughout pregnancy if their provider leaves the plan or their employer changes plans.

  • Does NOT allow health care professionals to prescribe drugs that are not on the plan's predetermined list when such drugs are medically indicated (this is especially important for older women who use more prescription drugs).

  • Does NOT let treating physicians make decisions about things like how long patients stay in the hospital (for example, how long a woman undergoing a mastectomy should stay in the hospital).

  • Does NOT ensure that health care professionals can speak openly to patients about all possible treatment options, especially about women's reproductive health care options (instead, it allows some employers and plans to "gag" health care professionals).

  • Does NOT require plans to have an internal quality improvement system that measures performance on health care issues that affect women.

  • Does NOT require plans to incorporate gender-specific medicine when developing written clinical review criteria.

  • Does NOT ensure that providers and patients are not discriminated against on the basis of sex or other characteristics.

    posted 6/21/99


    Copyright 1998,
    National Partnership for Women & Families.