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 RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968Trump Ramps Up Support for Re-Election While Liberal Cities Struggle to Keep Up • After the Bellhttp://iwf.org/media/2809860/Hadley HeathWed, 19 Jun 2019 21:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWill Elizabeth Warren Unite the Democratic Party? • Coast to Coasthttp://iwf.org/media/2809815/Hadley HeathFri, 14 Jun 2019 18:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumI'm a libertarian and I agree with AOC on over-the-counter birth control<p> Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez&nbsp;says&nbsp;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1137100279894224896" target="_blank">birth control should be available over the counter</a>.&nbsp;She&rsquo;s right.</p> <p> (At least, if by &ldquo;birth control&rdquo; she means birth control pills. I presume no one, least of all the pharmacist at Walgreen&rsquo;s, wants pharmacists&nbsp;to insert IUDs.)</p> <p> <a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/01/24/women-birth-control-can-skip-placebo-pills-new-guidelines-say/2670445002/" target="_blank">Birth control pills</a>&nbsp;are available over the counter in&nbsp;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-birth-control-pill/most-countries-offer-the-pill-over-the-counter-idUSBRE9010FQ20130102" target="_blank">most other countries</a>. The &ldquo;morning-after pill,&rdquo; better known as Plan B, is already available&nbsp;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/30/fda-plan-b-over-the-counter-emergency-contraception/2125131/" target="_blank">over the counter in America</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p> Most American women favor making the birth control pill accessible&nbsp;over the counter.&nbsp;According to a&nbsp;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://www.kff.org/report-section/executive-summary-2017-kaiser-womens-health-survey/" target="_blank">2017 Kaiser Family Foundation survey</a>, three-quarters&nbsp;of women of reproductive age support over-the-counter&nbsp;access to birth control pills.&nbsp;</p> <p> So why hasn&rsquo;t it happened? It must be that awful, religious-right-dominated GOP that&rsquo;s standing in the way, right?</p> <p> Actually, not so much.</p> <p> Republicans, in fact, have repeatedly tried to make birth control pills available without a prescription, only to face opposition from . . .&nbsp;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/244448-senate-dems-rebuke-gops-over-the-counter-birth-control-bill" target="_blank">Democrats and Planned Parenthood</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h3> Why Planned Parenthood doesn&#39;t support it</h3> <p> Yes, you heard that right. Democrats &mdash;&nbsp;and Planned Parenthood &mdash;&nbsp;have fought against making it easier for women to get birth control pills. Why? Well, they have their reasons.</p> <p> In Planned Parenthood&rsquo;s case, it&rsquo;s probably,&nbsp;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/09/29/why-does-planned-parenthood-oppose-over-the-counter-birth-control-because-theyd-make-less-money/#77429a787202" target="_blank">according to <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath Manning</span></strong></span></span></a>writing&nbsp;in Forbes, because they&rsquo;d make less money.&nbsp;&ldquo;Planned Parenthood&rsquo;s stance on expanding access to birth control may be illogical in light of their mission statement, but it is perfectly logical when you consider the group&rsquo;s financial interests.&rdquo;&nbsp;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/facts-figures/annual-report" target="_blank">Planned Parenthood</a>&nbsp;brings in 1.7 billion dollars in revenue annually according to it&#39;s latest financial report&nbsp;and contraception accounts for 27% of the services they provide.&nbsp;</p> <p> If women are buying their pills at CVS, there&rsquo;s no insurance money rake-off for Planned Parenthood. (And if you want to be ultra-cynical, if fewer women are on the pill &mdash;&nbsp;that&nbsp;Kaiser survey&nbsp;says that one in five sexually active women ages 18-44 aren&rsquo;t on any birth control &mdash;&nbsp;then that means more abortion business for Planned Parenthood, which is, as Manning notes, America&rsquo;s &quot;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/09/29/why-does-planned-parenthood-oppose-over-the-counter-birth-control-because-theyd-make-less-money/#b765e7072021" target="_blank">number one abortion provider</a>.&quot;)&nbsp;</p> <h3> Why Democrats don&#39;t support it</h3> <p> Planned Parenthood is also a&nbsp;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000591&amp;cycle=2016" target="_blank">big donor to Democrats</a>, who have worked to block over-the-counter&nbsp;birth control pills. And Democrats have fought hard, partly because they &mdash;&nbsp;and drug companies &mdash;&nbsp;want birth control pills to be subject to&nbsp;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/09/opinion/richards-over-the-counter-birth-control/index.html" target="_blank">health insurance reimbursement</a>, though only the more privileged among Americans get that.&nbsp;</p> <p> As Elizabeth Nolan Brown<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://reason.com/2019/01/16/deregulate-the-pill/" target="_blank">&nbsp;writes in Reason</a>, &ldquo;Even as they ramped up efforts to portray Republicans as the harbingers of a Handmaid&#39;s Tale scenario and to portray themselves as hip to the needs of marginalized groups, Democrats sacrificed an opportunity to help women struggling to obtain birth control prevent unintended pregnancies. Instead, at the expense of undocumented immigrants, low-income women, victims of domestic violence, and others, they opted to help middle-class women save $10 a month &mdash; and prop up insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies, and the Democratic fundraising machine in the process.&rdquo;</p> <p> So Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is right that birth control pills should be available over the counter, but her idea&nbsp;is being blocked by a largely Democratic coalition that&rsquo;s basically&nbsp;working to protect the interests of big businesses. &nbsp;As&nbsp;<a data-track-label="inline|intext|n/a" href="https://www.nationalreview.com/2015/06/cory-gardner-boosts-omens-access-contraceptives/" target="_blank">Jillian Kay Melchior writes</a>:&nbsp;&ldquo;Women&rsquo;s health-care choices shouldn&rsquo;t be limited by the greed of special-interest groups or the political calculations of jaded congressmen.&rdquo;</p> <p> <cta-atoms-container-inline></cta-atoms-container-inline></p> <p> Will an un-jaded congresswoman, in the person of Ocasio-Cortez, be able to shake up this coalition and help Republicans pass legislation to free birth control pills from excessive regulation? Or was she just tweeting? Stay tuned to find out.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2809772/Hadley HeathWed, 12 Jun 2019 12:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWashington Set to Investigate Tech Bias as Markets React • Making Moneyhttp://iwf.org/media/2809720/Hadley HeathTue, 4 Jun 2019 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGirls' Track and the Unlevel Playing Field<p> Like a lot of people, I was a high school athlete. I ran track, specifically the 800 meter (1/2 mile), 1600 meter (1 mile), the 3200 meter (2 mile) and several relays. I was a mediocre runner, but I enjoyed being part of my high school&#39;s team, which was strong.</p> <p> When I was a student, more than 10 years ago, there wasn&#39;t much talk about transgender student athletes. But today, this is one of the biggest issues in sports, at the high school level and beyond.</p> <p> Although high school athletes are young and unpaid, this is one of the most high-stakes levels of athletic competition: It&#39;s where the mediocre participants, like me, get separated from the truly elite competitors who go on to earn college sports scholarships and even ultimately compete professionally or at the Olympic level. That&#39;s why it&#39;s critical that high school sports be governed by consistent, fair rules.&nbsp;</p> <p> In this latest Daily Signal video by IWF Fellow Kelsey Bolar, Connecticut high school girls recount how competing against transgender girls (biological males) has harmed them and introduced unfairness to their sport. As the video explains, this issue isn&#39;t specific to track, and could pose even more complicated questions in contact sports, where safety can be an issue. Kelsey also discussed this topic with <a href="https://soundcloud.com/independent-womens-forum/how-transgender-athletic-policies-are-harming-women-with-journalist-kelsey-bolar">IWF on our podcast here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NIlq85dL0C4" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> Although my track days are long behind me, I remember running with male athetes in the 3200 race at rural track meets, where often the boys and girls ran together -- but not in competition -- simply to share the track and save time. Sometimes I was the only girl to enter this race, which is not a sprint, but requires 8 laps around a 400-meter standard high school track. I remember getting lapped by the boys. Even so, I still placed (first, if I was the only girl runner!) and added points to my team&#39;s total for the meet.&nbsp;</p> <p> For me, it was fun to be part of a team. It was good exercise. But for the athletes Kelsey interviewed in her video, their sport is not just a hobby. It&#39;s their passion. It&#39;s their gift! And they deserve to race on a &quot;level playing field&quot; against athletes who are biologically the same sex.</p> <p> Today, we are witnessing ever-increasing acceptance of people who are LGBTQ. This is a good trend; of course no one should be bullied or made to feel inferior. High school is hard enough for anyone, and it&#39;s often the time when students are trying to navigate their own questions about sex, gender, relationships, and many other complex topics.&nbsp;</p> <p> But gender identity should not be the deciding factor for sports, which are physical in nature. The physical, biological sex of participants should be the rule here. This is common sense. But saying so can be hard today, given the political environment. I&#39;m sure the girls in this video feared retaliation from those who might tar them as transphobic. This topic is the &quot;emperor&#39;s new clothes&quot; issue of our generation.</p> <p> As far as transgender athletes, they should compete against others who are the same biological sex unless or until some other accommodation can be made for them. But allowing transgender student athletes to compete against the opposite sex is <a href="https://twitter.com/JGunlock/status/1135170959202234368">unfair,</a> and girls, like those in this video, will <a href="http://iwf.org/news/2809349/Girls-and-Women-Deserve-Single-Sex-Sports">be the biggest losers</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p> We have to stand up for them, and we salute them for standing up for themselves.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2809593/Hadley HeathMon, 3 Jun 2019 10:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSex strikes: Stupid, wrong, ineffective<p> <a href="https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/sexstrike-trends-after-liberal-actress-calls-for-anti-abortion-law-protest" target="_blank">Alyssa Milano is urging women to abstain from sex</a>&nbsp;to protest new state restrictions on abortion. Regardless of our views on this hot-button policy issue, women ought to agree that a &ldquo;sex strike&rdquo; is stupid, ineffective, and unnecessary.</p> <p> First, and most problematically, this type of protest elevates the political above the personal. Who does Milano think we are having sex with? Most sex takes place between committed partners, and partners are likely to have somewhat similar views, if not on all political issues, at least on sex, contraception, and abortion.</p> <p> Even if partners disagree, women don&rsquo;t want to abstain from sex from their husbands, nor should we, over some political issue. A &ldquo;sex strike&rdquo; depicts sex as some chore women do for their partners rather than what it really is (or should be): an act of intimacy and love that that bonds us together. It&rsquo;s 2019, a time when it&rsquo;s supposedly widely accepted that women enjoy sex and shouldn&rsquo;t be ashamed of that.</p> <div> <div cnx-creative-type="VideoMonetization"> <div> <div cnx-video-ratio="16:9" cnx-video-width="undefined" id="cnx-video-image"> <div> Women shouldn&rsquo;t put their personal pleasure or their relationships aside to make a political point. The suggestion that we should is part of a broader trend that overpoliticizes everything, even the most personal aspects of life. What a sad, upside-down ordering of life&rsquo;s priorities.</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p> Second, because of the nature of sexual relationships, this protest is not likely to be effective at changing hearts and minds, much less public policy. Few women will participate at all. Maybe a marginal few random hook-ups will not take place because of this strike. (&ldquo;Great!&rdquo; say the social conservatives, by the way.)</p> <p> But one foregone tryst is not likely to change a young man&rsquo;s mind. Can you imagine the awkwardness of the conversation? &ldquo;It was so nice to meet you at the bar, and I really want to have sex with you, but I can&rsquo;t because I&rsquo;m in abstaining in solidarity with a celebrity-turned-political-activist to oppose new anti-abortion laws!&rdquo;</p> <p> What kind of response can anyone expect to that?</p> <p> Third, this strike is unnecessary. Women in other cultures and throughout history have withheld sex for political reasons at various times. But in the United States today, there&rsquo;s simply no need for this type of protest. Women have incredible political power and numerous avenues to have their voices heard, avenues that don&rsquo;t involve denying oneself or one&rsquo;s spouse the basic marital act.</p> <p> Perhaps Milano would rather pretend that these avenues (marching, writing a letter, voting, running for office) don&rsquo;t exist because she and others on the Left want to paint women as desperate victims of a patriarchal society, a depiction that won&rsquo;t ring true with most American women today.</p> <p> It used to be that women on the Left were champions of women&rsquo;s sexual liberation. But today, ironically, a sex strike is only suitable for the far left. For one thing, it fits the victim narrative. For another, speaking generally,&nbsp;<a href="https://dailycaller.com/2017/06/20/study-republicans-are-having-more-sex-than-democrats/" target="_blank"><u>research</u></a>&nbsp;shows that conservatives&nbsp;<a href="https://www.bustle.com/p/republicans-are-having-more-sex-than-democrats-survey-finds-9105232" target="_blank"><u>have sex more often</u></a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://thefederalist.com/2016/09/08/12-reasons-science-shows-conservative-women-best-sex/" target="_blank"><u>enjoy sex</u></a>&nbsp;more than liberals, meaning we&rsquo;d have more to lose if we wanted to put our sex lives on hold to strike (and we don&rsquo;t).</p> <p> It&rsquo;s fair enough for women to speak up when they disagree with new or proposed laws. In fact, it&rsquo;s admirable. We should all contribute to the direction of public policy in a country as free and democratic as ours.</p> <p> However, this sex strike won&rsquo;t be an effective way to do that. The only effect it will have is to make Milano and other participants look silly.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2809480/Hadley HeathFri, 17 May 2019 14:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum#MeToo Movement Gets a Scalp at Harvard<p dir="ltr"> On Saturday, Harvard University buckled to pressure from #MeToo student activists in announcing that it would not renew the contract of <a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.essence.com/news/robert-sullivan-stephanie-robinson-harvard-faculty-dean/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1558107691189000&amp;usg=AFQjCNEjZN4lEBQZNS1ug_RCep25WJrV5w" href="https://www.essence.com/news/robert-sullivan-stephanie-robinson-harvard-faculty-dean/" target="_blank">Ronald S. Sullivan</a> as faculty dean. Sullivan, a criminal defense attorney and a professor at Harvard Law School, was (until recently) a member of the legal defense team of disgraced Hollywood movie mogul and accused rapist Harvey Weinstein.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"> No sooner did Sullivan join Weinstein&rsquo;s legal team than student activists began demanding that Harvard remove him and his wife Stephanie Robinson from their positions at Winthrop House, an undergraduate residence where Sullivan and Robinson have served as faculty deans since 2009.&nbsp;Sullivan and Robinson were Harvard&rsquo;s first African-American residential deans.</p> <p dir="ltr"> <a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/triggered-harvard-students-weinstein-lawyer&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1558107691189000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGLFdxtSN6OMWqtMtM-R_2UwRqT-A" href="https://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/triggered-harvard-students-weinstein-lawyer" target="_blank">Students claimed</a> Sullivan&rsquo;s representation of Weinstein was &ldquo;trauma inducing&rdquo; and made them feel &ldquo;unsafe.&rdquo;&nbsp;They started an online petition demanding Sullivan&rsquo;s ouster. When their demands were not immediately met, activists spray-painted Winthrop House with the phrases &ldquo;Your silence is violence&rdquo; and &ldquo;Whose side are you on?&rdquo; Sit-ins and demonstrations ensued.</p> <p dir="ltr"> It&#39;s understandable that students find the accusations against Weinstein to be despicable... They are. But Weinstein is not Sullivan&rsquo;s first high-profile criminal client. Sullivan was previously part of the legal team that represented former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez when he was tried for double murder. Harvard students did not feel &ldquo;unsafe&rdquo; then. Apparently, accused murderers deserve a vigorous legal defense. But those accused of sex crimes do not.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"> Writing in the New York Times, Sullivan&rsquo;s Harvard Law School colleague <a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/opinion/race-identity/harvard-law-harvey-weinstein.html&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1558107691189000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFzxYf4I2rr3KohH2zFgt4UTluxDQ" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/opinion/race-identity/harvard-law-harvey-weinstein.html" target="_blank">Randall Kennedy</a> argues:</p> <p dir="ltr" style="margin-left: 40px;"> Harvard College appears to have ratified the proposition that it is inappropriate for a faculty dean to defend a person reviled by a substantial number of students &mdash; a position that would disqualify a long list of stalwart defenders of civil liberties and civil rights, including Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall.</p> <p dir="ltr"> Earlier in the year, when the controversy first broke, Kennedy and an additional 51 members of the Harvard Law School faculty&nbsp;signed a <a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://perma.cc/SUK7-QUU7&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1558107691189000&amp;usg=AFQjCNH0_3AeDpmUZYJA7DwtYnAMjhMGmQ" href="https://perma.cc/SUK7-QUU7" target="_blank">letter</a> that called upon Harvard to:</p> <p dir="ltr" style="margin-left: 40px;"> Recognize that such legal advocacy in service of constitutional principles is not only fully consistent with Sullivan&rsquo;s roles of law professor and dean of an undergraduate house, but also one of the many possible models that resident deans can provide in teaching, mentoring and advising students.</p> <p dir="ltr"> Harvard, it seems, has rejected that advice.</p> <p dir="ltr"> Shortly after Harvard announced it would not renew Sullivan&rsquo;s and Robinson&rsquo;s contracts,&nbsp;Sullivan announced his <a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/14/us/harvard-law-professor-ronald-sullivan-harvey-weinstein/index.html&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1558107691189000&amp;usg=AFQjCNE2lCIXnLVyTlpgtnIqxqvBrbS1fA" href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/14/us/harvard-law-professor-ronald-sullivan-harvey-weinstein/index.html" target="_blank">withdrawal</a> from the Weinstein case, claiming a conflict with his teaching schedule. Harvard&rsquo;s decision not to renew Sullivan&rsquo;s faculty dean contract does not affect his teaching positions at the law school. But by forcing Sullivan out of his faculty dean position, #MeToo activists, nevertheless, got their scalp.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2809462/Hadley HeathThu, 16 May 2019 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumUnder Capitalism You Can Be Voluntarily Charitable, Socialism Forces It • After the Bellhttp://iwf.org/media/2809455/Hadley HeathWed, 15 May 2019 08:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Lack of Price Transparency in Health Care is a Problem for Free Markets<p> The Trump administration just&nbsp;<a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2019/05/08/in-a-significant-step-for-price-transparency-trump-finalizes-rule-requiring-list-prices-in-drug-ads/#46b73b6770c4" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">finalized</a>&nbsp;a rule&nbsp;requiring drug companies to including price information in ads. And the president recently announced his administration&rsquo;s efforts to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-wants-protect-patients-families-surprise-billing/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">curb</a>&nbsp;surprise medical billing. These are both positive developments that fit within a broader push for price transparency &mdash; a push that should have the support of free-market conservatives.</p> <p> The political left has its answer for high health care prices: &ldquo;Medicare for All.&rdquo; In an effort to eliminate complexity (and profits) from American health care, Medicare for All would replace today&rsquo;s various private insurance coverage options and government programs for vulnerable groups with one single program for everyone. This approach would have disastrous consequences for the quality, timeliness and innovation we presently enjoy in our health care sector. But it is simple and sounds appealing to those frustrated with the uncertainly and fear created by our costly and opaque status quo.</p> <p> So what&rsquo;s the answer from the right? For years, the mantra has been &ldquo;patient-centered, market-driven health care.&rdquo; And the principle is right! But there ought to be a swear jar for &ldquo;let the market solve it.&rdquo; This answer is not a real policy solution, nor is it satisfactory to American voters, who don&rsquo;t have faith that simply rolling back government spending and regulations in health care will lead to better outcomes. We are so far away from having a functioning market in health care that it is understandably hard for many to imagine what they would look like and how they would work.</p> <p> Markets do develop organically, and they are the best means for allocating resources and fostering innovation. But markets can&rsquo;t develop where the conditions aren&rsquo;t right, just like seeds can&rsquo;t grow in rocky soil. It&rsquo;s time to till the soil.</p> <p> One condition that&rsquo;s needed for a functional market is price transparency.</p> <p> Look at any service, drug or treatment that&rsquo;s available directly to consumers and offered with price transparency, in health care or anything else, and you will see a pattern. Prices get lower, not higher, and patients are satisfied: The cost of Lasik eye surgery has decreased by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/rand-paul-lasik-surgery-shows-health-prices-fall-when-consumers-can-shop">75 percent over 15 years</a>. Claritin, the allergy drug, saw its price drop&nbsp;<a href="http://www.iwf.org/news/2797361/Why-Liberals-Oppose-Over-the-Counter-Birth-Control-">50 percent</a>&nbsp;when it became available over the counter. And today Direct Primary Care, a model where patients pay doctors directly, without insurance, is affordable and growing in popularity across the country.</p> <p> But in too much of the healthcare system, we don&rsquo;t have price transparency because we don&rsquo;t have a functional market. Conservatives are right when they point out that the current lack of price transparency is no natural development: It&rsquo;s the result of too much government intervention requiring that too many health care services be purchased like a group lunch, either through programs like Medicare and Medicaid or through insurance. They are also right when they say that structural reforms that reduce the role of third-party payers will lead to greater price transparency as patients do more direct purchasing and demand greater price competition from providers.</p> <p> However, this kind of structural free-market reform is currently out of reach. The latest try, as demonstrated by efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, failed spectacularly. We could repeal ACA, as well as the employer tax exclusion for health insurance, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, and then of course we&rsquo;d have price transparency in health care. But this would be a heavy lift, politically, to say the least!</p> <p> A more feasible solution would be to follow the approach that the Trump administration is taking, using sunlight as a disinfectant. We, as patients and consumers, deserve to know ahead of time how much we should expect to pay for healthcare services &mdash; functional market or not. We deserve to know how much our insurance company is paying on our behalf; after all, we pay bills to them. And we deserve to see how various providers differ in terms of what they charge so that we might make choices based on value. We can&rsquo;t have patient-centered, market-driven health care otherwise.</p> <p> If we don&rsquo;t take action to expose the convoluted payment pipelines in American health care, the left will succeed in delivering its false narrative, blaming free-market capitalism for the failures we all feel today. This will pave the way for single payer unless we can correct course with better information.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2809441/Hadley HeathTue, 14 May 2019 13:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe UK's 'Right' to Healthcare Doesn't Stop a Racial Gap in Maternal Deaths<p> The birth of a new royal baby is all the buzz: Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex welcomed a son this week who will now be seventh in line for the British throne. The story has once again piqued interest in maternal mortality rates, which have been rising in the U.S.</p> <p> While the rate has &ldquo;more than doubled&rdquo; over 30 years, it&rsquo;s important to keep in mind that this is easy to do. The rate has gone from about 9 in 100,000 women to 18 in 100,000 women. The chances of dying in childbirth, on average, are still lower than the chance of being killed in a car crash or even being struck by lightning.</p> <p> Still, the trend is in the wrong direction. With medical advancements, we should expect maternal mortality to be going down, not up. There is one piece of maternal mortality stats in the U.S. that is particularly troubling: The disparity between white women and black women, with the latter group facing a chance three times higher of maternal death.</p> <p> Meghan, an American, has a white father and a black mother. Some of the media reports<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-health-202/2019/05/07/the-health-202-meghan-markle-delivered-her-son-in-a-country-with-better-maternal-morality-rates-than-the-united-states/5cd055361ad2e506550b2f69/" target="_blank">&nbsp;<u>have focused on comparing the maternal mortality rates of the U.K. and the U.S.,</u></a>showing that overall, the U.K. has a lower rate. But the underreported reality is that the racial disparity is actually worse in the U.K., a country with nationalized healthcare. Black women are five times more likely than white women to die during or following childbirth there, compared to three times here.</p> <p> If the push for government-run healthcare is focused on equality for everyone, why the greater racial disparity in the U.K., a country with one of the world&rsquo;s most government-controlled systems? This is bound to be a disappointment to those who believe government-run healthcare would be a great equalizer.</p> <p> To be fair, the rate at which black mothers die in the U.K. and the U.S. is about the same: 40 deaths in 100,000. The disparity actually lies in the lower rates for white women in the U.K. (<u><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-47115305?wpisrc=nl_health202&amp;wpmm=1" target="_blank">8 in 100,000</a></u>&nbsp;compared with&nbsp;<u><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-mortality-surveillance-system.htm?wpisrc=nl_health202&amp;wpmm=1" target="_blank">12 in 100,000</a></u>&nbsp;in the U.S.).</p> <p> Does this mean white women are better off in the U.K.? Well, as with any international comparison, we should also note that healthcare metrics may be measured differently and data may not be exactly consistent. Even within the U.S., we often rely on state-level death certificate data on maternal mortality, and states may measure this differently and&nbsp;<u><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29630012" target="_blank">possibly dramatically overstate</a></u>&nbsp;the problem. For example, should a postpartum mom killed in a car crash count as maternal death? I think not, but some states include that in their maternal mortality statistics.</p> <p> We must acknowledge that maternal mortality can be related to many factors, sometimes cultural factors&nbsp;<u><a href="https://slate.com/technology/2017/05/medical-error-isnt-to-blame-for-our-high-maternal-mortality-rate.html" target="_blank">outside of the scope of medical care</a></u>, such as poverty. Women with poor housing and poor nutrition are at higher risk of maternal death, as well as myriad other bad outcomes. It also could very well be that American women more often carry risky pregnancies (for example, in mothers who abuse drugs, are obese, or are very young or old), which may contribute to our higher mortality rate.</p> <p> As far as the racial gap, we should not discount the possibility that discrimination may play a role, both here and in other countries. Also, black patients&nbsp;<u><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19175244" target="_blank">have less trust</a></u>&nbsp;in the medical system, at least in the U.S., and may be less likely to speak up if they fear they won&rsquo;t be taken seriously. In fact, mortality rates are higher for black patients in a variety of situations, not just pregnancy and childbirth. Addressing these cultural issues will take time and effort from the medical community, and it is&nbsp;<u><a href="https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/newsletter-article/2018/sep/focus-reducing-racial-disparities-health-care-confronting" target="_blank">already a focus</a></u>.</p> <p> Even so, there are health policy changes we can make to reduce maternal mortality: Planned pregnancies are generally safer than unplanned pregnancies (likely due to the earlier prenatal care pursued by the former group). Making birth control available over the counter, as the Independent Women&#39;s Forum has&nbsp;<u><a href="http://www.iwf.org/news/2803514/It%27s-Time-To-Make-Birth-Control-Available-Over-The-Counter" target="_blank">suggested,</a></u>&nbsp;would reduce the rate of unplanned pregnancies.</p> <p> Perhaps most importantly, we can continue to focus on getting every woman access to the highest quality healthcare available. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in its website, a healthy pregnancy starts even before conception. Private insurance provides the best access to the largest networks of doctors with the shortest waiting times, so our focus should be on getting as many women of childbearing age (and other patients of course) into private insurance coverage, rather than&nbsp;<u><a href="https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-insurance/articles/2015/05/26/youve-got-medicaid-why-cant-you-see-the-doctor" target="_blank">Medicaid</a></u>&nbsp;or no insurance.</p> <p> As the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently reported, moving to a &quot;Medicare for all&quot; or single-payer, government-funded healthcare system could expand coverage for preventive care and other benefits that may improve people&rsquo;s health, but it also said that extending coverage to more Americans could produce longer wait times and reduced access to care.</p> <p> One thing we can say looking across the pond is that socialized medicine certainly doesn&rsquo;t reduce racial inequality in outcomes, as much as we might wish that were true.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2809398/Hadley HeathThu, 9 May 2019 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumInfographic: Comparison of Federal Parental Leave Bills<p> This morning, lawmakers will discuss the FAMILY Act. Here in the United States, federal law requires employers to provide eligible workers with 12 weeks of unpaid time off from work each year but does not guarantee any paid leave. Currently, there are a number of proposals under consideration in Congress that aim to expand earned parental leave or pay replacement for workers to allow them to take time off following the birth or adoption of a child.</p> <p> There are <a href="http://pdf.iwf.org/Social_Security_Earned_Leave.pdf">enormous health and economic benefits associated with paid parental leave</a>. The <a href="https://www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/benefits/2016/ebbl0059.pdf">majority of full-time workers in the U.S. have access to some form of paid time off</a> but there are still many workers who do not receive paid leave through their employers and can face hardship as a result. In fact, <a href="http://press.careerbuilder.com/2017-08-24-Living-Paycheck-to-Paycheck-is-a-Way-of-Life-for-Majority-of-U-S-Workers-According-to-New-CareerBuilder-Survey">most workers live paycheck-to-paycheck</a>, which means taking unpaid leave is often out of the question.</p> <p> All Americans, regardless of political party, agree that we must help workers who lack this benefit get the financial support they want and need. Yet there are fundamental disagreements about how to assist those who need it.</p> <p> The ongoing policy debate over the best way to provide paid parental leave raises many questions. Does providing access to paid parental leave require a new program? What is the best way to fund paid parental leave benefits? Should participation be mandatory regardless of one&rsquo;s plans to use the benefit? Who should be eligible for paid time off?</p> <p> As we all continue to think critically about the best way to expand access to paid parental leave, we wanted to offer you a comparison of the different approaches to providing workers with time off from work. We hope you find this chart useful, and if you do, please be sure to share it with your friends on social media.</p> <p> <a href="http://pdf.iwf.org/Federal Parental Leave Bills_short_p4.pdf" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/Policy%20Focus/0518_PF_clickhere_zpsgkuvjttg.png" style="width: 250px; height: 41px;" /></a></p> <p> <a href="http://pdf.iwf.org/Federal%20Parental%20Leave%20Bills_short_p4.pdf"><img alt="" class="pull-right" src="https://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/2019%20blog%20photos/Federal%20Parental%20Leave%20Bills_short_p4_zpsddsmhe2r.jpg" /></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2809385/Hadley HeathWed, 8 May 2019 04:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumStock Market Reacts To Trumps Tweets on China • Coast to Coast http://iwf.org/media/2809395/Hadley HeathTue, 7 May 2019 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMedical Expert from Canada Explains Why Elderly Will Suffer Most Under ‘Medicare for All’<p> Sally Pipes &mdash; CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, who immigrated to the U.S. from Canada &mdash; warned Americans that seniors will be among those most negatively impacted through denied health care if Sen. Bernie Sanders-style &ldquo;Medicare for All&rdquo; is adopted.</p> <p> Pipes explained on Fox News&rsquo; &ldquo;Life, Liberty and Levin&rdquo; on Sunday that the single-payer system Sanders is proposing would mean private health care insurance would be banned, and the government take over and decide what care is provided based on what is &ldquo;medically necessary for the population.&rdquo;</p> <p> Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs would be rolled up into a new government health care system, like that found in Canada or the United Kingdom.</p> <p> &ldquo;When people think something is free, they are going to demand a lot more of it,&rdquo; Pipes said. So, the government will have wait lists and ration care, and &ldquo;it is the elderly that will be most harmed by rationed care.&rdquo;</p> <p> In Canada, according to the medical care expert, the average wait time from a primary care referral to see a specialist is approximately&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/waiting-your-turn-wait-times-for-health-care-in-canada-2018" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">20 weeks</a>, five months.</p> <p> To get an MRI, Canadians must wait on average 11 weeks &mdash; nearly 3 months.</p> <p> According to a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/waiting-your-turn-wait-times-for-health-care-in-canada-2018" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Fraser Institute</a>&nbsp;study, the longest waits are between a general practitioner referral and orthopedic surgery, which is 39 weeks.</p> <div data-twitter-event-id="0"> <div data-click-to-open-target="https://twitter.com/KymEGuy/status/1125620057017651201" data-iframe-title="Twitter Tweet" data-scribe="page:tweet" data-tweet-id="1125620057017651201" data-twitter-event-id="1" id="twitter-widget-0"> <article data-card-name="player" data-publisher-id="1367531" data-scribe="component:card" dir="ltr"> <div> <div data-style="max-width: 435px" style="margin-left:auto;"> <div data-style="padding-bottom: 57.7011%"> <div> <div data-scribe="element:play_button"> <div aria-label="Play Media" role="img" title="Play Media"> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath Manning &mdash; policy director with the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</span></strong></span></span> &mdash; noted that wait time, just over nine months, is the length of a pregnancy. &ldquo;Imagine being in pain that long, waiting for surgery. And that&rsquo;s just the average. Some patients wait years,&rdquo; she told The Western Journal.</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <p> Dr. Brian Day, the president of Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver, which is Canada&rsquo;s largest private hospital, affirmed years-long wait times are a reality.</p> <p> &ldquo;This is a country in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week and in which humans can wait two to three years,&rdquo; he told&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/26/international/americas/as-canadas-slowmotion-public-health-system-falters.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The New York Times</a>&nbsp;in 2006.</p> <div id="IC2-ad"> <p fl:fl-noexcerpt="true"> Advertisement - story continues below</p> </div> <p> Day has been engaged in a decade-long legal battle with the province of British Columbia over the government prohibiting residents from accessing medically necessary treatment at his clinic,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/private-medical-clinics-win-injunction-against-b-c-law-that-banned-them-1.4190549" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">CTV News</a>&nbsp;reported.</p> <p> The subject of wait times hits close to home to Pipes, whose mother died of colon cancer in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.pacificresearch.org/sally-pipes-featured-in-fierce-healthcare-story-on-canadian-health-care-wait-times/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">2005</a>, while a patient in the Canadian health care system.</p> <p> RELATED:&nbsp;<a data-type="Internal link" data-type-location="in-content-related" href="https://www.westernjournal.com/new-poll-shows-biden-greater-expected-lead-democrats/">New Poll Shows Biden with &lsquo;Greater Than Expected&rsquo; Lead Over All Other Democrats</a></p> <p> After going to her doctor and expressing her concern that she might have colon cancer, she was told Pipes recalled, &ldquo;As a senior, we have too many younger people on the waiting list to get colonoscopies &mdash; people are waiting eight months to a year.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;So she didn&rsquo;t get her colonoscopy. Six months later she was hemorrhaging, went to the hospital in an ambulance,&rdquo; Pipes said. &ldquo;Two days in the emergency room, two days in a transit lounge waiting to get a bed in a ward. She finally got her colonoscopy, but she passed away two weeks later from metastasized colon cancer. This is rationing of care and you reduce costs by denying care to people. It&rsquo;s very, very sad.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Life Liberty and Levin&rdquo; host Mark Levin responded, &ldquo;We have the government making decisions about life and death. Not individual human beings making decisions about their own lives.&rdquo;</p> <p> Pipes said that Americans need only look to the Veterans Affairs medical system &mdash; which is notorious for long wait times &mdash; if they want to see a microcosm of what a single-payer system would be like in the U.S.</p> <p> She noted the federal government would have to hire millions of people to administer the program to replace those currently employed in the private health insurance industry.</p> <p> Pipes predicted that, without competition, it would likely function in the same bureaucratic fashion as a typical state&rsquo;s department of motor vehicles.</p> <p> The Congressional Budget Office released a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/2019-05/55150-singlepayer.pdf" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">study</a>&nbsp;last week finding if &ldquo;Medicare for All&rdquo; were adopted that &ldquo;patients may also have longer wait times or reduced access to care if there aren&rsquo;t enough physicians to meet increased demand. Patients may also have less choice than they have now,&rdquo;<a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/05/01/medicare-all-cbo-single-payer-disruptive/3643297002/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">&nbsp;USA Today</a>reported.</p> <p> Manning contended that Medicare for All might sound compassionate, &ldquo;but the result will not be what Americans are hoping.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Instead it would only reshape American health care to look more like other countries with socialized medicine &mdash; impersonal, slow and harmful to our health,&rdquo; Manning said.</p> <p> <twitter-widget data-tweet-id="1125620057017651201" id="twitter-widget-0"></twitter-widget></p> <p> &ldquo;And sadly those who are already vulnerable today, including the elderly and anyone with an uncommon medical condition, will pay the highest price in terms of reduced access to care.&rdquo;</p> http://iwf.org/media/2809387/Hadley HeathTue, 7 May 2019 04:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGood Jobs Report: Unemployment Rate at an All Time Low, Especially with Minorities • Making Money http://iwf.org/media/2809352/Hadley HeathFri, 3 May 2019 19:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPaycheck Fairness Act makes workplaces less flexible and fair<p> Imagine a world where any difference in pay could be grounds for a lawsuit, even if the pay disparity was warranted by different work arrangements.</p> <p> Employers would say no to requests for greater flexibility, like the ability to work from home or set one&#39;s own hours, out of fear that this and the reduced pay that comes with it might seem like discrimination and would invite a lawsuit.</p> <p> Employers would likely create pay schedules like those used by governments to standardize pay and jobs for everyone. Negotiation would be a thing of the past and employers might well hire and promote fewer women opting instead to advance male workers to reduce their legal exposure.</p> <p> This is the world offered by the badly named Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA).</p> <p style="clear:both;"> Many women and men support this legislation because they presume it would outlaw sex-based discrimination in wages, although that was already accomplished by the 1964 Equal Pay Act.</p> <p> Instead the Payment Fairness Act would force employers to essentially prove their innocence when it comes to pay equity.</p> <p> Employers would have to demonstrate a &quot;business necessity&quot; for all pay disparities, even if employees are happy with their existing compensation.</p> <p> The bill would also expand the damages employers could face in discrimination lawsuits and require workers to opt out of class-action suits.</p> <p style="clear:both;"> All of this increased legal exposure for employers will not boost women&#39;s paychecks, but only increase the paychecks of trial lawyers.</p> <p> For women in particular, this legislation will backfire. Women especially mothers value flexible workplaces more than men.</p> <p> According to Werk, a technology company that helps firms offer more flexibility, 70 percent of women who left the workforce say they would have stayed had they been offered greater flexibility.</p> <p> By making workplaces less flexible, the PFA will only worsen the gender gaps in workforce participation, workplace leadership and ironically, pay.</p> <p style="clear:both;"> The PFA also takes aim at &quot;pay secrecy&quot; policies in the workplace that ban employees from discussing pay. Like pay discrimination, this practice is already illegal.</p> <p> Importantly, greater transparency in pay no matter how it&#39;s achieved is not likely to help reduce the pay gap.</p> <p> That&#39;s because the premise of the Paycheck Fairness Act is wrong: The gender wage gap that exists today is not a metric of discrimination and closing it should not be a public policy goal.</p> <p> The raw gender gap by itself doesn&#39;t tell us much about the amount or type of discrimination against women in our economy.</p> <p> Rather, it simply tells us that women, on the whole, earn less money than men. It doesn&#39;t tell us why. It&#39;s just a comparison of averages, not a comparison of women and men in the same jobs with the same experience, education, hours and labor-market conditions.</p> <p> Often, these factors education, hours worked, etc. are the result of personal choices that workers have made and they often break down along gender lines.</p> <p> Men are simply more likely to value higher pay, while women particularly mothers are more willing to trade high pay for other benefits, like flexibility.</p> <p> A recent Harvard Business School survey shows that 64 percent of highly qualified women value flexibility as extremely or very important compared to 42 percent who value its role in &quot;earning a lot of money.&quot;</p> <p> If lawmakers really want to further combat pay discrimination, they should look for ways to do so that don&#39;t unnecessarily burden employers many of whom are women by removing disincentives to the flexible careers that women workers want.</p> <p> Truly supporting fairness for women in the workplace means allowing individual workers to work together with their employers to customize their compensation.</p> <p> The Paycheck Fairness Act, despite its name, runs counter to this goal.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2809339/Hadley HeathThu, 2 May 2019 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum