Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS Expansion, Opioid Expansion<p> Of course, no one wants to see Americans perish at the hands of drug overdose. But the sad reality is that an opioid epidemic is sweeping the nation, killing more than 60,000 people each year. President Trump recently declared a national health emergency, meaning he&#39;s empowering state and national agencies to work together and form a more robust response.</p> <p> As I wrote recently, the opioid epidemic is complex. There&#39;s no one factor that has caused it, but instead a host of cultural and economic factors contribute. This includes <a href="">government policies</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p> The Wall Street Journal editorial board <a href="">highlighted another way</a> the government might have unintentially played a part in the expansion of opioid abuse: the Medicaid expansion:</p> <blockquote> <p> A recent study by Express Scripts Holding found that about a quarter of Medicaid patients were prescribed an opioid in 2015. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson presents intriguing evidence that the Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare may be contributing to the rise in opioid abuse. According to a federal Health and Human Services analysis requested by the Senator, overdose deaths per million residents rose twice as fast in the 29 Medicaid expansion states&mdash;those that increased eligibility to 138% from 100% of the poverty line&mdash;than in the 21 non-expansion states between 2013 and 2015.</p> <p> There were also marked disparities between neighboring states based on whether they opted into ObamaCare&rsquo;s Medicaid expansion. Deaths increased twice as much in New Hampshire (108%) and Maryland (44%)&mdash;expansion states&mdash;than in Maine (55%) and Virginia (22%). Drug fatalities shot up by 41% in Ohio while climbing 3% in non-expansion Wisconsin.</p> </blockquote> <p> The intention behind the Medicaid expansion was, undoubtedly, to help low-income people. But there have been unintended consequences. Emergency rooms have remained crowded (in some cases <a href="">becoming more so</a>), and there&#39;s been <a href="">no evidence of improved health outcomes</a>. This is because the Medicaid expansion didn&#39;t address the program&#39;s underlying flaws, but simply expanded it. <a href="">True reform is needed</a> to better help Medicaid patients get the care they need as individual patients, not as faceless &quot;millions&quot; counted on political scorecards.&nbsp;</p> HeathThu, 17 Aug 2017 11:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSen. Warren's voting record doesn't represent the political middle • Kennedy HeathMon, 14 Aug 2017 13:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPolitical division has reached a level that is untenable • After The Bell HeathFri, 11 Aug 2017 14:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum‘Gender Pay Gap’ Looks Different With All Factors Accounted For<p> A long-running liberal mantra is that women are paid significantly less than men for doing the same work, but a closer look at the data proves that position false.</p> <p> The Institute for Women&rsquo;s Policy Research&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">claims&nbsp;</a>the current gap is 20 percent between men&rsquo;s and women&rsquo;s pay. In other words, a woman earns 80 cents for every dollar a man earns.</p> <p> The organization argues this is clear evidence of discrimination against women in the workplace. <span style="font-size:16px;"><strong><span style="color:#c93b2e;">However,&nbsp;</span><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><span style="color:#c93b2e;">Hadley Heath Manning</span></a><span style="color:#c93b2e;">, policy director with the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, says the 20 percent comparison is not &ldquo;apples-to-apples.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:16px;"><span style="color:#c93b2e;"><strong>&ldquo;The raw wage gap, measured by the Department of Labor, is about 20 cents on the dollar,&rdquo; Manning told Western Journalism. &ldquo;But this is just a comparison of averages. It doesn&rsquo;t take into account many factors that affect earnings, like profession, education, experience and hours. This means that the raw wage gap doesn&rsquo;t really measure &lsquo;equal pay for equal work&rsquo; because it&rsquo;s not an apples-to-apples comparison.&rdquo;</strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:16px;"><span style="color:#c93b2e;"><strong>She added, &ldquo;Sadly, the raw wage gap is often presented without context, suggesting there is widespread discrimination against women. But this isn&rsquo;t so. This sends the wrong message to women and girls. Even the Department of Labor has said that the raw wage gap is largely the result of the individual choices women and men make, and shouldn&rsquo;t be used to justify further legislative action.&rdquo;</strong></span></span></p> <p> Economist Steven Horwitz, with the Foundation for Economic Freedom,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">agrees</a>&nbsp;with Manning&rsquo;s assessment.</p> <p> &ldquo;That 80 percent is an aggregate, he writes. &ldquo;Thus, the claim that women get paid 80 percent of what men do for the same work is a myth.&rdquo;</p> <p> That said, he explains, there still is a 3-to-5 percent difference between the sexes when all other factors are held constant, which may be due to in part to discrimination or gender socialization.</p> <p> However, even that picture is changing among millennial women.</p> <p> &ldquo;Since 2000, one-third more women than men have graduated from college, and more women are earning graduate degrees too,&rdquo;&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">reports&nbsp;</a>Fast Company, using data from a Pew Research&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">study</a>. &ldquo;Even once-male bastions such as law school are seeing the change.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Millennial women are so outpacing men in higher education that it&rsquo;s inevitable they will become their generation&rsquo;s top earners,&rdquo; the article goes on to say. &ldquo;With greater education comes greater wealth. At this rate, young women&rsquo;s wages will overtake men&rsquo;s by 2020.&rdquo;</p> <p> A gap still exists among women seeking to be the boss in their workplaces, even among millennials, with 70 percent of men and 61 percent of women saying they want to be in charge.</p> <div itemprop="text"> <p> Another major factor explaining why women tend to earn less than men over the course of their careers is the family choices they make.</p> <p> According to Pew, 39 percent of women of all ages reported taking a significant amount of time off work to care for a child or family member. Only 24 percent of men gave the same response.</p> <p> Another interesting statistic shows that while women tend to view the job market broadly as favoring men, large majorities of both men (73 percent) and women (75 percent) report that at their particular workplaces each gender earns the same pay for the same job.</p> <p> &ldquo;We should use better metrics,&rdquo; Manning contends when discussing wage differences between men and woman. &ldquo;When we do correct for a variety of variables, like profession, education, experience and hours, the wage gap virtually disappears. This means women can and should expect equal pay for equal work. In fact, anything less is already illegal.&rdquo;</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathFri, 11 Aug 2017 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGoogle it: men and women are different, and that's okay<p> The latest gender scandal comes from Google, where now-former employee James Damore wrote his infamous&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">10-page memo</a>&nbsp;on the company&#39;s diversity policy. The memo itself is not scandalous, but you wouldn&#39;t know that from the media coverage or online outrage in response.</p> <p> The memo was about many things, including ideological diversity, but the most attention-grabbing points are about gender. The engineer says, in so many words, that Google&#39;s effort to recruit more women in engineering runs against the reality that fewer women than men desire to become engineers.</p> <p> The question of gender differences shows up in many contemporary debates: Are women paid the same amount as men? Are women represented at parity in various professions? In public office? Are women and men doing equal amounts of housework? Are male and female students pursuing the same areas of study?</p> <p> These questions are easy to observe and answer, and of course, the answer to all of these questions is &quot;no.&quot;</p> <p> Women earn less than men do (on average): The wage gap is about&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">20 cents</a>&nbsp;on the dollar. Men congregate in higher-paying jobs like engineering.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Women congregate</a>&nbsp;in nursing, teaching, and social work. Women comprise about&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">20 percent of Congress</a>. Women are&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">97 percent</a>&nbsp;of early childhood education majors; men are 97 percent of naval architecture majors.</p> <p> Damore is right to point out that these different outcomes are largely the result of choice.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Economists</a>&nbsp;have studied the wage gap and attributed the bulk of it to profession, hours, experience, and other factors &ndash; not discrimination. Even the left-leaning American Association of University Women analyzed the wage gap and found that after considering work-related factors, it shrunk to&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">6 cents on the dollar</a>.</p> <p> Women choose, less frequently than men, to enter certain careers. When women express their preferences about work,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">fewer mothers than fathers</a>&nbsp;say they want to work full-time hours. Female students&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">cite different priorities</a>&nbsp;when choosing a college major than those cited by their male counterparts.</p> <p> None of this is controversial. After all, why would we call it a &quot;diversity&quot; policy if we didn&#39;t accept the premise that women and men are &quot;diverse&quot; or different?</p> <p> What is controversial, at least in some circles, is the discussion about why women and men make different choices and express different desires. Are girls and boys simply &quot;socialized&quot; to want to live up to different &quot;gendered expectations?&quot; Certainly, even before birth, moms can expect pink or blue blankets as early as the baby shower, if the sex of the baby is known.</p> <p> But what James Damore is suggesting is that there is more to it than this: that women and men are inherently different. He can rely on&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">a great body of work</a>&nbsp;in biology, psychology, and neuroscience to support this suggestion. Google it!</p> <p> Damore is particularly careful not to suggest that what he is saying is universal. We shouldn&#39;t make assumptions about any one woman or any one man, but we ought not be surprised that when all men and women&#39;s different choices are totaled up, we see differences. Damore&#39;s conclusion, ultimately, was that he&#39;s &quot;not saying we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I&#39;m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as members of their group.&quot;</p> <p> Wow &ndash; pretty offensive stuff!</p> <p> All joking aside, this discussion of gender leads us to more questions: Should we strive for a world where women and men are at parity? Should we try to offer girls more LEGOs and boys more baby dolls? Should we encourage more college women to major in STEM fields? Should Google intentionally recruit women?</p> <p> These &quot;should&quot; questions are much harder to answer, and good people can come up with different solutions, or believe that no solution is necessary at all. That&#39;s also worth discussing. And while, of course, any discussion of gender differences is going to be broad-strokes and use generalizations, that doesn&#39;t mean the discussion should be off-limits.</p> <p> To the contrary, by encouraging an honest discussion about the differences between men and women, we can find better answers to our questions, and ultimately, perhaps, a greater appreciation for our true diversity.</p> <p> <em>Hadley Heath Manning (<a href="" target="_blank">@HadleyHeath</a>) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner&#39;s Beltway Confidential blog. She is a senior policy analyst and director of policy at the Independent Women&#39;s Forum and a Tony Blankley Fellow at the Steamboat Institute.</em></p> <div> &nbsp;</div> HeathWed, 9 Aug 2017 15:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGovernment Policies Helped Create the Opioid Epidemic<p> Opioid overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, claiming more than 60,000 lives per year. While many states have tried to address the opioid epidemic, the federal government has considered doing more. The Better Care Reconciliation Act, the repeal-and-replace bill that failed in the Senate, would have included an additional $45 billion to fight the opioid crisis.</p> <p> Government alone surely cannot solve the nation&rsquo;s opioid problem, which is tied to many cultural and economic factors. In fact, as we debate the broader role of government in our health sector, we should consider how bad policies have actually contributed to the opioid epidemic by over-emphasizing pain management.</p> <p> For years, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services included questions about pain management in patient satisfaction surveys that were linked to payment, encouraging a standard of patient-pleasing over good medicine. This fostered a culture that encouraged health care providers to offer pain-relieving prescriptions, popular with patients, without adequate regard for the potential long-term downside to these drugs.</p> <p> Those pain-related questions were removed this year, certainly an improvement, but for too long they influenced patient care and cultivated an environment of overuse of opioids for pain management. This represents the worst of government-influenced medicine: When doctors and hospitals answer to bureaucrat-designed surveys in Medicare and Medicaid, two of the biggest payers in health care, they aren&rsquo;t as able to treat the individual needs of each patient.</p> <p> The Joint Commission, previously known as the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, also bears some of the blame. The JC is an independent organization, but in 1965 the federal government tasked JC with determining which hospitals were eligible for participation in Medicare. Most state governments also recognize JC accreditation as a prerequisite to Medicaid reimbursement.</p> <p> It would be hard to overstate JC&rsquo;s influence on hospital policy. Any accrediting organization is free to determine standards, and accreditation is an important market tool that allows consumers to see which sellers have certain seals of approval. But when government is the biggest consumer, and when accreditation means the difference between doing business with the government or not, accreditation standards can carry the same weight as government policy.</p> <p> Since 2001, the JC has issued pain management and treatment standards. Last year, dozens of health providers and groups sent a letter to the JC, saying that its standards &ldquo;encourage unnecessary, unhelpful, and unsafe pain treatments that interfere with primary disease management.&rdquo; The letter asked that JC change its standards to allow individual clinicians to use their judgment for pain assessment rather than mandating routine pain assessment.</p> <p> Some pain management advocacy groups like the American Pain Society have advocated for pain to be measured as the &ldquo;fifth vital sign&rdquo; along with heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature. Of course, no one wants to diminish the very real pain that patients can feel, and in some cases drugs may be appropriate. This should be a decision for doctors to make, case by case.</p> <p> But pain should not be considered a vital sign: Pain is a symptom, a message, pointing patients and doctors to its root cause. Simply drugging pain away not only results in the over prescription of drugs, but can blind us to deeper health issues. And unlike heart rate or blood pressure, there is no objective way to measure it. Doctors and nurses must depend on patients to report the intensity level of their pain, which provides an opening for addicts to abuse the system.</p> <p> Part of the answer to the opioid epidemic will be to reverse course on these pain-centric accreditation standards and government policies &mdash; something that CMS and the Joint Commission are already doing.</p> <p> Ultimately we must empower individual doctors to make the best decisions for patients, to treat patients as individuals rather than numerical scores on surveys, and to educate the public on the short- and long-term consequences of various pain management approaches. The opioid epidemic should be a cautionary tale in the over-standardization of medicine, a symptom of too much government influence.</p> HeathWed, 9 Aug 2017 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTitle IX Kicks USC Kicker Out Despite Girlfriend's Defense<p style="font-size: 12px;"> Title IX is an anti-sex discrimination statute dating back to 1972. If you read the text of it, it sounds pretty good:</p> <blockquote> <p style="font-size: 12px;"> No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.</p> </blockquote> <p style="font-size: 12px;"> But Title IX enforcement today goes far beyond the basic guarantee of equal rights in education. Of course, many are familiar with the &ldquo;three-pronged test&rdquo; which has resulted in unfair athletic quotas and the cutting of men&rsquo;s sports teams. But the most recent expansion of Title IX is into the arena of sexual harassment on campus.</p> <p style="font-size: 12px;"> <span style="font-size: 12px;">The Obama Administration issued guidance that effectively required colleges to be extremely aggressive in combatting sexual assault, even to the point of lowering the standard of proof in sexual assault investigations. The results have been scary, and for some students, harmful to their reputation, education and job opportunities, and even their&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">health and wellbeing</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">.</span></p> <p style="font-size: 12px;"> The latest case that demonstrates how ridiculous Title IX enforcement has become is this sad story from the University of Southern California:</p> <p style="font-size: 12px;"> Football team kicker Matt Boermeester was roughhousing with his girlfriend Zoe Katz, a tennis athlete, when a neighbor saw the two and reported an assault. The assault allegation was passed along to the football team, and then passed along to the school&rsquo;s Title IX office. Here&rsquo;s more of the story&nbsp;<a href="">from the LA Times</a>:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p> Katz said she was summoned to a mandatory meeting with Title IX officials, where she told investigators that the two were playing around. Katz was subsequently told that she &ldquo;must be afraid of Matt,&rdquo; she said. She told officials she was not. Boermeester has not been arrested or charged with a crime.</p> <p> &ldquo;When I told the truth about Matt, in repeated interrogations, I was stereotyped and was told I must be a &lsquo;battered&rsquo; woman, and that made me feel demeaned and absurdly profiled,&rdquo; Katz said. &ldquo;I understand that domestic violence is a terrible problem, but in no way does that apply to Matt and me.&rdquo;</p> <p> Katz said that she has &ldquo;never been abused, assaulted or otherwise mistreated by Matt.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p> Of course, we are all sympathetic to the fact that sometimes abused women might be too fearful to speak out against their attackers. Sexual assault on campus is likely both underreported (by fearful victims) and over-reported (in false accusations). It&rsquo;s complicated. Perhaps there is more to even this story than meets the eye.</p> <p> Those who report being victims of sexual assault deserve to be listened to. But from what is known in this case, it was Title IX officials who refused to believe a young woman who insisted she was never harmed. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s not clear what, if any, real evidence there was that any abuse had taken place. Now a young couple is barred from seeing one another, and the young man is banned from campus.</p> <p> There&rsquo;s hope that things will change. Some of the Obama-era guidance on Title IX and sexual assault is <a href="">currently under review</a>, including the lower standard of proof.&nbsp;</p> HeathTue, 8 Aug 2017 17:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe real reason why out-of-pocket costs are so expensive • MSNBC Live (08.05.17) HeathMon, 7 Aug 2017 13:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThere are private solutions to robocalls • Bulls & Bears HeathSat, 5 Aug 2017 13:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSenators leave for August recess early despite big to-do list • Bulls & Bears HeathSat, 5 Aug 2017 13:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWill leaks put Trump's pro-growth agenda at risk? • Bulls & Bears HeathSat, 5 Aug 2017 13:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSocialism in Venezuela is only cause of unrest in the country • Intelligence Report HeathThu, 3 Aug 2017 14:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWe Asked People Why They Supported or Opposed the ACA Repeal Effort<p> <em>The effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act , commonly known as Obamacare, is like a game of hot potato right now. First, the House quickly pushed through a health care reform bill with the <a href="">assumption</a> that the Senate would tackle any flaws. Now, the Senate is trying to <a href="">pass something</a> &mdash;anything&mdash;that can be taken to conference with the House.</em></p> <p> <em>In an effort to get a better understanding of some of the politics and perspectives around health care in the United States, we reached out to two organizational leaders from opposite sides of the issue to find out why they&#39;re for or against a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.</em></p> <p> Sister Simone Campbell is the executive director of the Catholic social justice organization <a href="">NETWORK</a>. She advocated for the initial passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, and on Monday, delivered copies of a <a href="">letter</a> signed by more than 7,000 American nuns to members of the Senate, asking them to vote against any health care reform bill that would cut Medicaid.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &quot;For us,&quot; Campbell tells VICE Impact, &quot;the key factor is that so many people have access to health care who didn&#39;t used to have access to health care before the ACA, and this is a good step forward. People cannot afford insurance on their own.&quot;</p> <p> Campbell says the expansion of Medicaid led to low-income workers being able to access health coverage. To illustrate how that access ultimately leads to better health outcomes, she recounts meeting a low-wage worker in Arizona named Maria who was able to get insurance because of the ACA.</p> <p> &quot;In getting established with a doctor, they found out she has cancer, ovarian cancer,&quot; Campbell says. &quot;And because of that, she was able to get treatment. She&#39;s a contributing member of society, she&#39;s caring for her grandkids, she&#39;s doing well. They want to take that away from Maria and other people like her. We say that&#39;s wrong.&quot;</p> <p> The foundation of Campbell&#39;s opposition to a repeal of the ACA is based in her faith. She says, &quot;The church teaches [that health care] is a right and not a privilege for the wealthy; it&#39;s our basic tenet about the dignity of all human beings. In order to live in dignity, in our world, requires having access to quality affordable health care. And our church teaches that it&#39;s the role of good government to support what is needed for people to be able to live in dignity. It&#39;s just that it costs money and people think we shouldn&#39;t pay for what the common good requires.&quot;</p> <p> &quot;The fight is really about taxes and money,&quot; Campbell continues. &quot;The fight is really not about health care. They just don&#39;t like paying for it, which I find shocking in the richest nation on Earth, that we can&#39;t care for the common good. Paul Ryan said, when he started this, he said, &#39;Well you know, well people shouldn&#39;t have to pay for sick people.&#39; Excuse me, this is the whole point of insurance. There&#39;s a big pool of people where we pay for each other, knowing that at some point I&#39;ll most likely use health care. So I&#39;m really grateful for your contribution to my health care down the road and in the meantime I&#39;m willing to pay for yours. That&#39;s insurance. But somewhere that got lost in this conversation.&quot;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">On the opposite side of the spectrum is Hadley Heath Manning, the policy director at </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">. She says the ACA had good intentions, but turned out to harm many people.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Millions of people had quality insurance plans that were cancelled because they were not compliant,&quot; she told VICE Impact. &quot;Premiums have skyrocketed, more than doubling since 2014. Medicaid rolls have become overburdened, making it harder for those patients to access care from the relatively low number of providers who will see them. The premise of the ACA was that everyone should have the same insurance and pay about the same for it, but this destroys market competition, the force we need to put consumers in control and hold down premium prices. Americans have a variety of needs and preferences for health insurance; we need health reform so that they can have greater choice in insurance plans, including choices for those with expensive medical conditions.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;One important metric of quality is access,&quot; she says, &quot;and one way to measure access is through provider networks. The ACA has accelerated a trend toward &#39;narrow network&#39; plans, meaning plans that are tied to fewer doctors and hospitals. Medicaid is very bad in this regard, because far fewer doctors will see new Medicaid patients compared to patients with private insurance. As we work together to ensure that more Americans can afford and obtain insurance coverage, we should also pay close attention to the value of that insurance coverage. Is it something they can use when they need to use it? Otherwise it&#39;s an empty promise. That&#39;s what the ACA has been to many people.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Last night, Republican Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins effectively ended the Senate GOP&#39;s push for health care reform for a &quot;skinny repeal&quot; that eliminates individual and some employer mandates but does not address high premiums. Previously, Republican senators failed to get anywhere on the Better Care and Reconciliation Act; it was voted down by nine Republicans and all 48 Democrats. Only time will tell how the next approach to health care pans out.</p> HeathTue, 1 Aug 2017 14:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy is there no consensus on healthcare among Republicans? • Stacy on the Right HeathTue, 1 Aug 2017 13:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTax Reform Objections and Bringing Money Back To America • Patriot Tonight HeathTue, 1 Aug 2017 07:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum