This op-ed was co-authored by Hadley Heath, a junior fellow at the Independent Women's Forum.
August recess allows Members to step back from Washington's political tug-of-war and hear from constituents. Many Members are finding that most Americans are concerned about the prospect of growing government's involvement in health care, and would prefer policymakers re-evaluate their positions and start deliberations anew.
Feminists might also use the opportunity to pause and reconsider their stance on the health care issue. Thus far, the role of the old guard feminist groups has been typical of a liberal advocacy group: They are lobbying for the biggest government option on the table. The National Organization for Women (NOW), for example, recently urged members to support an amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich that would enable states to create single-payer health plans. NOW explains it’s a second-best option compared to their ultimate goal—a single-payer national program—but it's the best they can hope for at this time.
Is a single-payer system really in the best interest of women? That’s a matter of empirical debate. The vast majority of women who are satisfied with their current health care plan would likely be worse off in a government-run system that provides less choice, discourages new medical innovation, and requires longer wait times for treatments and possibly outright rationing.
Certainly some women may be better off with socialized medicine. Today millions of American women lack health insurance, face high medical costs, and many forgo needed treatment. The current employer-based health insurance system creates particular challenges for women: Women disproportionately work in part-time positions that don't include health benefits, move in and out of the workforce, and receive insurance through their spouse's employment. Facing potential disruptions due to their work and family lives, many women may prefer the stability that would come from a government-run health system, even if that means reduced quality of care.