Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968Obamacare enrollment lags for young, healthy Americans • Special Report Jim Angle Package http://iwf.org/media/2793671/Hadley HeathFri, 11 Apr 2014 16:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEqual Pay Day is a fictitious holiday based on a faux statistic • Cavuto http://iwf.org/media/2793616/Hadley HeathTue, 8 Apr 2014 02:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPaycheck Fairness Act: Not Good for Paychecks or Fairness<p> This week the Senate is considering the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to expand &ldquo;remedies&rdquo; to sex-based wage discrimination.</p> <p> In other words, the legislation would allow women to sue for unlimited compensatory and punitive damages, and it would promote class-action lawsuits by requiring workers to opt out, rather than to opt in. This would result in expanded legal liability for employers, smaller paychecks and less fairness for women and men.</p> <p> Like many ideas from the Left, this legislation is a solution in search of a problem. It would certainly be wrong to suggest that workplace discrimination is entirely extinct, but the PFA presumes the opposite &ndash; that men&rsquo;s earnings outperform women&rsquo;s solely because of discrimination and that more lawsuits are the fix. Reality is more complex.</p> <p> If a woman is truly the victim of wage discrimination, she already has the ability to sue. Sex-based wage discrimination has been illegal since the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.</p> <p> Proponents of the PFA point out that, despite these longstanding legal protections, women&rsquo;s earnings continue to lag behind men&rsquo;s. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average full-time woman&rsquo;s wages are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2012/ted_20120110.htm">81 percent of the average man&rsquo;s</a>.</p> <p> This differential, often known as the &ldquo;wage gap,&rdquo; is an interesting figure. But importantly, it is not a measure of discrimination toward women. There are many reasons why women &ndash; on average &ndash; earn less money than men. Basically, women are more willing than men to take greater comfort, safety, leave time and flexibility as tradeoffs for lower pay.</p> <p> While the BLS calculates the wage gap between men and women, this measure includes everyone who works full time, or more than 35 hours per week. This does not take into account that the average full-time woman works 7.9 hours per day and the average full-time man works&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/atus.pdf">8.5 hours per day</a>.</p> <p> Men are also more likely to work in dangerous or unpleasant work conditions &mdash; which is why the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0009.pdf#http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0009.pdf">vast majority of work-related deaths are males</a>. This additional risk warrants greater compensation, and the laws of supply and demand bear this out.</p> <p> The attitude behind the Paycheck Fairness Act completely ignores that women and men may have different preferences and priorities when it comes to pay and jobs. Instead, the PFA sees more lawsuits as the &ldquo;remedy&rdquo; for women&rsquo;s wages.</p> <p> But greater damages, more class-action lawsuits and increased liability for employers are not the right approach to expanding job opportunities for women. In fact, the PFA is likely to do more to hurt women&rsquo;s economic outlook than to help.</p> <p> Employers &ndash; especially smaller ones &ndash; will face potentially bankrupting lawsuits. As companies divert more resources toward expanded liability insurance, there will be less money leftover to pay workers. The only paychecks that would benefit from PFA are the payouts for trial lawyers. Even worse: Employers will be discouraged from hiring women when they see women as legal risks rather than meritorious workers.</p> <p> Not only is the Paycheck Fairness Act bad for workers&rsquo; paychecks, it is also bad for fairness. Our legal system relies on the philosophy of &ldquo;innocent until proven guilty.&rdquo; The PFA inverts that concept by putting the burden of proof on employers to demonstrate that all salary decisions are &ldquo;job related&rdquo; and &ldquo;consistent with business necessity.&rdquo;</p> <p> These ambiguous restrictions could discourage employers from paying higher-performing workers more, from allowing employees to take more flexibility in exchange for reduced pay, or from presenting a counter-offer to retain a valuable employee. This means the PFA could lead to stricter pay schedules, less flexibility and less fairness.</p> <p> Clearly, sex-based wage discrimination is wrong. Furthermore, it&rsquo;s already illegal. Employers know that, and employees should too. This latest legislation &ndash; the Paycheck Fairness Act &ndash; won&rsquo;t lead to more fairness or better pay. It will lead to more lawsuits, more red tape and fewer job opportunities for women and men. The bill has a nice name, but the Paycheck Fairness Act is not good for paychecks, or for fairness.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2793593/Hadley HeathMon, 7 Apr 2014 19:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPaycheck Fairness Act: Not Good for Paychecks or Fairness<p> This week the Senate is considering the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to expand &ldquo;remedies&rdquo; to sex-based wage discrimination.</p> <p> In other words, the legislation would allow women to sue for unlimited compensatory and punitive damages, and it would promote class-action lawsuits by requiring workers to opt out, rather than to opt in. This would result in expanded legal liability for employers, smaller paychecks and less fairness for women and men.</p> <p> Like many ideas from the Left, this legislation is a solution in search of a problem. It would certainly be wrong to suggest that workplace discrimination is entirely extinct, but the PFA presumes the opposite &ndash; that men&rsquo;s earnings outperform women&rsquo;s solely because of discrimination and that more lawsuits are the fix. Reality is more complex.</p> <p> If a woman is truly the victim of wage discrimination, she already has the ability to sue. Sex-based wage discrimination has been illegal since the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.</p> <p> Proponents of the PFA point out that, despite these longstanding legal protections, women&rsquo;s earnings continue to lag behind men&rsquo;s. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average full-time woman&rsquo;s wages are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2012/ted_20120110.htm">81 percent of the average man&rsquo;s</a>.</p> <p> This differential, often known as the &ldquo;wage gap,&rdquo; is an interesting figure. But importantly, it is not a measure of discrimination toward women. There are many reasons why women &ndash; on average &ndash; earn less money than men. Basically, women are more willing than men to take greater comfort, safety, leave time and flexibility as tradeoffs for lower pay.</p> <p> While the BLS calculates the wage gap between men and women, this measure includes everyone who works full time, or more than 35 hours per week. This does not take into account that the average full-time woman works 7.9 hours per day and the average full-time man works&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/atus.pdf">8.5 hours per day</a>.</p> <p> Men are also more likely to work in dangerous or unpleasant work conditions &mdash; which is why the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0009.pdf#http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0009.pdf">vast majority of work-related deaths are males</a>. This additional risk warrants greater compensation, and the laws of supply and demand bear this out.</p> <p> The attitude behind the Paycheck Fairness Act completely ignores that women and men may have different preferences and priorities when it comes to pay and jobs. Instead, the PFA sees more lawsuits as the &ldquo;remedy&rdquo; for women&rsquo;s wages.</p> <p> But greater damages, more class-action lawsuits and increased liability for employers are not the right approach to expanding job opportunities for women. In fact, the PFA is likely to do more to hurt women&rsquo;s economic outlook than to help.</p> <p> Employers &ndash; especially smaller ones &ndash; will face potentially bankrupting lawsuits. As companies divert more resources toward expanded liability insurance, there will be less money leftover to pay workers. The only paychecks that would benefit from PFA are the payouts for trial lawyers. Even worse: Employers will be discouraged from hiring women when they see women as legal risks rather than meritorious workers.</p> <p> Not only is the Paycheck Fairness Act bad for workers&rsquo; paychecks, it is also bad for fairness. Our legal system relies on the philosophy of &ldquo;innocent until proven guilty.&rdquo; The PFA inverts that concept by putting the burden of proof on employers to demonstrate that all salary decisions are &ldquo;job related&rdquo; and &ldquo;consistent with business necessity.&rdquo;</p> <p> These ambiguous restrictions could discourage employers from paying higher-performing workers more, from allowing employees to take more flexibility in exchange for reduced pay, or from presenting a counter-offer to retain a valuable employee. This means the PFA could lead to stricter pay schedules, less flexibility and less fairness.</p> <p> Clearly, sex-based wage discrimination is wrong. Furthermore, it&rsquo;s already illegal. Employers know that, and employees should too. This latest legislation &ndash; the Paycheck Fairness Act &ndash; won&rsquo;t lead to more fairness or better pay. It will lead to more lawsuits, more red tape and fewer job opportunities for women and men. The bill has a nice name, but the Paycheck Fairness Act is not good for paychecks, or for fairness.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2793666/Hadley HeathMon, 7 Apr 2014 08:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat is the Hobby Lobby case in the Supreme Court all about? • Dead Reckoninghttp://iwf.org/media/2793545/Hadley HeathFri, 28 Mar 2014 02:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHHS Mandate in the high court illustrates the inevitable conflicts that result from too much government in health care • WLW Scott Sloan Show http://iwf.org/media/2793510/Hadley HeathWed, 26 Mar 2014 17:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Supreme Court cases about much more than contraception • Neal Larson Show 590 KID Newsradiohttp://iwf.org/media/2793509/Hadley HeathWed, 26 Mar 2014 16:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHealth Care Challenge at Supreme Court “About Women’s Rights” • Voice of Russia<p> <a href="http://voiceofrussia.com/us/2014_03_27/Health-Care-Challenge-at-Supreme-Court-About-Women-s-Rights-2825/">By Molly Seder</a></p> <p> WASHINGTON (VR) &ndash; Should the government force employers offering employees health care to only subscribe to policies that cover a spectrum of birth control? Is it fair to force employers to contribute to controversial medications like &ldquo;Plan B&rdquo; pills and IUDs?</p> <p> Under the Affordable Care Act, that&rsquo;s law of the land with few exceptions. But the Supreme Court could change that.</p> <p> The nation&rsquo;s highest court heard two cases yesterday challenging regulations requiring all insurance to cover birth control. Two companies argued it violates their religious rights.</p> <p> Outside the court house Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, said the case is about women&#39;s rights.</p> <p> &ldquo;I really believe that this court understood that women have the right to make their own decisions about their health care and their birth control. And it&#39;s not their boss&#39; decision,&rdquo; Richards said.</p> <p> And Terry O&rsquo;Neill, the President of the National Organization of Women, told VR that no employer can quote &ldquo;claim religion as an excuse for simple bigotry against women.&rdquo;</p> <p> But Hadley Heath, the director of health policy at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, disagrees. She says it&rsquo;s not about women&rsquo;s rights but rather women&rsquo;s choices.</p> <p> She says women can still buy birth control even if the Supreme Court strikes down that part of the Affordable Care Act. Employees &ldquo;can choose to accept that benefit or choose to seek out health insurance in the individual market,&rdquo; Heath told VR.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/media/2793521/Hadley HeathWed, 26 Mar 2014 16:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObamaCare turns four, but now there are more people hurting as a result of the law than being helped • KFKA AM Coloradohttp://iwf.org/media/2793511/Hadley HeathMon, 24 Mar 2014 17:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWomen’s History Month – A Dose of Perspective<p> March &ndash; Women&rsquo;s History Month &ndash; is mostly observed by honoring trailblazing women who helped overcome challenges, triumph against sexism, and make our country what it is today. Feminists sometimes use the occasion to highlight how women have yet to achieve economic parity with men, but we should be careful to keep the right perspective when evaluating the status of women in the modern U.S.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s simply not accurate to think of all women as a marginalized victim class in today&rsquo;s economy. Using the right measures, facts bear this out. Furthermore, when women accurately assess our own success and opportunities, we can see women and men in cooperation, not competition.</p> <p> By nearly any measure, women are advancing and achieving greater success than ever before. Not only has the sheer number of women attaining higher levels of education increased, but women have&nbsp;<a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=72">overtaken men</a>, earning the majority of associate&rsquo;s, bachelor&rsquo;s, master&rsquo;s and doctorate degrees.</p> <p> And according to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2011/women/">Bureau of Labor Statistics report</a>, the percent of working-age women participating in the workforce was 43 percent four decades ago. Today it is near&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_303.htm">58 percent</a>. In 2010, women comprised&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/Qf-laborforce-10.htm">47 percent</a>&nbsp;of the U.S. workforce.</p> <p> Modern day feminists sometimes point to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/careers/boardroom-boys-club-women-still-mostly-shut-out-n44196">disproportionately low number</a>&nbsp;of women in certain higher-paying professions, or at certain levels &mdash; i.e. corporate boardrooms &mdash; as evidence that American women still lack opportunities. They emphasize that women still have a long way to go before achieving parity with men.</p> <p> But women don&rsquo;t need to be equally represented in all facets of American life in order to prove that we are free and prosperous.</p> <p> A better measure of women&rsquo;s &mdash; and men&rsquo;s &mdash; success is whether they are living the lives they want to lead, in accordance with their personal preferences. While each person is an individual, and will have&nbsp;<em>individual&nbsp;</em>preferences, the two sexes show substantial differences.</p> <p> For example,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/most-working-moms-prefer-part-time-work/">Pew Research</a>&nbsp;asked working moms if they would prefer part-time or full-time work. Fully 62 percent of working moms would prefer to work part time, compared to only 21 percent of working dads.&nbsp; Considering this significant difference in the two groups, it&rsquo;s not surprising that we see more men climbing the ladders of careers that require full-time work.</p> <p> But a more important truth is this: Comparing outcomes between men and women is simply a useless exercise. This approach tells us little about the expectations and&nbsp;<em>opportunities</em>&nbsp;that men and women face. And these economic comparisons represent the misguided attitude that men and women are in competition.</p> <p> In reality, men and women&rsquo;s interests are tied, and we want the most freedom and greatest prosperity for all of our neighbors, regardless of sex.</p> <p> Instead of slicing the pie between men and women, we should focus on the state of the whole pie: When the American economy is growing and strong, both men and women benefit. Conversely, if the economy tanks, that&rsquo;s bad news for us all.</p> <p> In fact, perpetuating the idea that men are the economic winners and women are victims may do harm. It may encourage young women to accept the status quo as if there is nothing we &ndash; as individuals &ndash; can do to better our own circumstances.</p> <p> One favorite &ndash; and often misinterpreted &ndash; statistic on women is the &ldquo;wage gap,&rdquo; or the disparity in average wages between men and women.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2010.pdf">According to BLS</a>, women earn 81 percent of men&rsquo;s median wages. This statistic does not take into account different fields, professions, experience levels or hours worked. It&rsquo;s an average.</p> <p> If we want more young women to maximize their earning potential, we should encourage them to choose higher-paying jobs, spend more time on the job, or ask for raises more frequently. Really, we should just make sure women are informed about the tradeoffs involved in these choices, and then let each woman decide.</p> <p> American women are strong, empowered and capable. When we consider women&rsquo;s history, we see what great obstacles women overcame to shatter glass ceilings and reach new achievements. American women &ndash; like men &ndash; will continue to overcome, to learn and to grow.</p> <p> But most importantly, we will seek happiness on our own terms, we will work with &ndash; and not against &ndash; men along the way, and we will not see ourselves as helpless victims in this modern era where we are more successful and free than ever.</p> <p> By&nbsp;<a href="http://redalertpolitics.com/author/hheath/" title="Posts by Hadley Heath">Hadley Heath</a>&nbsp;///&nbsp;March 23, 2014</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2793494/Hadley HeathSun, 23 Mar 2014 13:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhite House enlists celeb moms in last ditch effort for ObamaCare sign-ups • AM Colorado http://iwf.org/media/2793448/Hadley HeathMon, 17 Mar 2014 13:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumYo, Millennials: Marriage Creates Financial Security, Not Vice Versa<p> Many of today&rsquo;s young adults have put the cart before the horse when it comes to marriage and money: They&rsquo;re delaying marriage, and citing the lack of a solid economic foundation as the reason. Ironically, marriage itself can provide financial security, if it&rsquo;s a life-long investment and with the right partner.</p> <p> The Pew Research Center just released a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/millennials-in-adulthood/">fascinating new report</a>&nbsp;on Millennials &ndash; the generation born between roughly 1981 and 1998. From the report: &ldquo;Most unmarried Millennials (69 percent) say they would like to marry,&nbsp;but many, especially those with lower levels of income and education, lack what they deem to be a necessary prerequisite&mdash;a solid economic foundation.&rdquo;</p> <p> This sadly represents a bigger issue; many young adults today see marriage as an accomplishment rather than a journey. It could be that Millennials see financial security as a proxy variable for &ldquo;Have I made it yet?&rdquo;</p> <p> The idea that someone must be a fully developed person (or that there is such thing) before marriage is misguided. Marriage is intended to be a lifelong relationship in which the two partners shape each other and change and develop together, often helping each other realize potential they wouldn&rsquo;t otherwise.</p> <p> When it comes to money, marriage can provide stability and economies of scale that aren&rsquo;t as accessible for singles. The Book of Ecclesiastes has something to say about this: &ldquo;Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.&rdquo; This wisdom is just as true today as it was in Biblical times.</p> <p> Social science&nbsp;<a href="http://www.familyfacts.org/briefs/1/the-benefits-of-marriage">bears this out</a>: Married couples have increased odds of affluence, increased chances of moving out of poor neighborhoods, increased incomes, and are more likely to avoid poverty.</p> <p> Millennial women are more likely than their female predecessors to have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/03/06/womens-college-enrollment-gains-leave-men-behind/">higher levels of education</a>&nbsp;and higher earning potential.&nbsp; Combining two one-income households into one two-income household means Millennial couples can reduce their overhead cost of living and improve their ability to pay down debt (a huge problem for the youngest generation) or even begin to save.</p> <p> Marriage also wards against one very serious financial setback affecting many Millennials: single parenthood. Where there is sex, there is a risk of pregnancy, and demographic trends suggest that Millennials are not delaying sexual activity as late as they are marriage.</p> <p> According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/millennials-in-adulthood/">Pew</a>, 47 percent of births to Millennial women are non-marital, about double the rate of previous generations. And according to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2013.html">Census Bureau</a>, about 45 percent of single-mother households live in poverty compared to 13 percent of married households.</p> <p> Millennials would do well to avoid single parenthood, either by marrying earlier or delaying sex until our later wedding dates. Sharing a household is financially beneficial for childless married couples, but it&rsquo;s even more critical for those with children.</p> <p> Therefore, young adults who are serious about their relationships should see marriage as a bedrock foundation for future financial success, not a finish line. A lack of material wealth should not be a reason, or an excuse, for avoiding marriage.</p> <p> There are, of course, important caveats to this argument.&nbsp; Financial insecurity comes in various strains.&nbsp; Sometimes it is a symptom of &ldquo;just getting started&rdquo; &ndash; youth, inexperience, and an accompanying low income. These circumstances can change and improve over time, and often improve faster when two people work together.</p> <p> Sometimes, however, bad finances are a symptom of irresponsible behavior. It&rsquo;s important to discern whether you and a potential spouse have the same values and expectations when it comes to money, and that you practice good money management, like balancing your budget and saving for rainy day funds.</p> <p> Furthermore, some&nbsp;<a href="http://nationalmarriageproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/KnotYet-FinalForWeb-041413.pdf">studies</a>&nbsp;show that delaying marriage at least until partners are finished with their education is beneficial to their future earnings. Also, marriage can have a great return on investment, but only if it is a long-term &ndash; not short-term &ndash; investment.&nbsp; Divorce can have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twoofus.org/educational-content/articles/the-financial-impact-of-divorce/index.aspx">terrible financial consequences</a>&nbsp;&ndash; so invest wisely.</p> <p> Couples should not marry for financial security alone, but they also shouldn&rsquo;t let less-than-perfect bank accounts stop them from marrying. In fact, if Millennials avoid marriage because they lack a golden nest egg, they may be feeding a self-perpetuating cycle. Bottom line: Marriage is the solid economic foundation we lack.</p> <p> <em><a href="https://twitter.com/HadleyHeath">Follow Hadley on Twitter</a>.</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2793433/Hadley HeathFri, 14 Mar 2014 14:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIs Jolly's Florida House seat win a tipping point for democrats and ObamaCare? • Cavuto http://iwf.org/media/2793417/Hadley HeathWed, 12 Mar 2014 12:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHappy International Women's Day!<p> Isn&#39;t it wonderful to be a woman?</p> <p> Today - March 8 - is International Women&#39;s Day. The holiday&#39;s history flows from a spirit of activism. &nbsp;In 1910,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.internationalwomensday.com/about.asp">German activist Clara Zetkin</a>&nbsp;proposed that the public dedicate the day to considering the political demands of women. &nbsp;Since 1910, in Germany, the U.S., and around the world, much has changed for women. &nbsp;Women demanded suffrage - and they got it. &nbsp;This is true for nearly every country where men are allowed to vote. &nbsp;One notable exception is Saudi Arabia.</p> <p> Women fought for and won other important political battles in the 20th Century. &nbsp;In many parts of the world, property rights and access to education and work improved. &nbsp;Some of those fights continue today, and sadly women continue to face oppressive and sexist legal systems overseas. &nbsp;At IWF, we call this <a href="http://iwf.org/blog/2790744/Superstition,-Sorcery,-and-a-War-on-Women">&quot;The Real War on Women.&quot; </a>&nbsp;Too many left-leaning American &quot;feminists&quot; have <a href="http://iwf.org/blog/2793367/The-Real-War-On-Women:-Why-Do-Feminists-Ignore-the-Plight-of-Women-in-Muslim-Societies--">become distracted</a> from the international plight of women and focus instead of lobbying for bigger government and downright intrusion into the lives of successful, self-sufficient women here at home.</p> <p> In doing this, they actually promote&nbsp;<em>dependence</em>&nbsp;for women (and men). &nbsp;In their effort to reduce the importance of the family unit (which, perhaps they view as oppressive to women), they&#39;ve only replaced dependence on a husband or father with dependence on Uncle Sam. &nbsp;That doesn&#39;t offer women a lot of hope for controlling their own destiny.</p> <p> That&#39;s why, at IWF, we constantly offer public policy solutions that put women - as individuals - in the driver&#39;s seat of their lives. &nbsp;Who should decide what kind of compensation you get at work? &nbsp;You should. &nbsp;Who should decide what kind of health insurance you buy? &nbsp;You should. &nbsp;Who should decide where your kids go to school? &nbsp;You should. &nbsp;Who should decide how you run your new start-up business? &nbsp;You should.</p> <p> We even feature a <a href="http://www.iwf.org/modern-feminist/2790520/Portrait-of-a-Modern-Feminist:-Stacy-Mott">series of &quot;modern feminists&quot;</a> in the U.S. who support true equality and independence for women - including independence from government.</p> <p> The truth is, women hold a valuable, honored place in American society. &nbsp;That&#39;s why we have some cultural traditions like allowing women first off the elevator and opening doors for women. &nbsp;I don&#39;t see these things as infantilizing; I see them as an expression of respect and honor.&nbsp;</p> <p> At IWF, we simply want each woman to have the freedom to pursue happiness as she sees fit. &nbsp;We know questions about work, family, dating, traditions, religion, sex, and politics are going to inspire a myriad of different responses from the beautifully diverse American population. &nbsp;We celebrate these differences and advocate simply that the government get out of our way. &nbsp;</p> <p> True feminists should focus their energies on protecting the basic rights to life and liberty for women in the U.S. and abroad. &nbsp;</p> <p> Happy International Women&#39;s Day! &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2790764/Hadley HeathSat, 8 Mar 2014 07:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFive Weeks from the Enrollment Deadline, is ObamaCare Holding Up?<p> There are just 5 weeks left for Americans to enroll in Obamacare health plans for 2014. Number crunchers are preparing to spin the data both ways: Obamacare supporters will claim that millions are being helped. Opponents will showcase a shortfall in the unimpressive enrollment numbers, compared to projections.</p> <p> While enrollment numbers tell us something about how the law is working so far, they aren&rsquo;t the only &mdash; or even the most important &mdash; measure for judging whether Obamacare is a success of failure.</p> <p> Analysts believe that so far, around&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/02/13/a-guide-to-understanding-obamacares-sign-up-numbers/">9.3 million Americans</a>&nbsp;have enrolled in an exchange plan or Medicaid. That sounds like a Very Big Number and evidence that the law is effectively helping a sizable portion of the population. But a closer look at these figures reveals their uselessness.</p> <p> Many of Medicaid&rsquo;s new 6 million beneficiaries would have qualified for the program anyway in previous years. And the majority of the 3.3 million customers who bought private plans through an exchange had some kind of insurance before this transition.</p> <p> Furthermore, the enrollment numbers don&rsquo;t tell us if these new customers really wanted Obamacare&rsquo;s products, or were merely trying to comply with the federal mandate requiring them to purchase compliant insurance. Many of these &ldquo;new&rdquo; enrollees are likely drawn from the millions who saw their private plans canceled.</p> <p> In fact, Obamacare may not have succeeded in reducing the rate of uninsurance, but instead just reduced the rate of people using private insurance. That&rsquo;s not how the law was sold to Americans.</p> <p> Obamacare supporters might suggest that helping only one sick person is worth the whole reform. And enrollment numbers don&rsquo;t capture the supposed &ldquo;security&rdquo; that Americans have knowing that Obamacare&rsquo;s additional protections are now in place.</p> <p> So what other metrics can we use to evaluate the law&rsquo;s impact? Here are a few to keep in mind in the months to come:</p> <p> <strong>Provider Network Size:&nbsp;</strong>One measure of the quality of a health insurance plan is how many health care providers will accept the plan and serve its patients. The policies offered in Obamacare&rsquo;s exchanges typically&nbsp;<a href="http://swampland.time.com/2014/01/01/keeping-your-doctor-under-obamacare-is-no-easy-feat/">have much smaller doctor networks</a>, and therefore place stricter limits on where members can access care.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/dotcom/client_service/Healthcare%20Systems%20and%20Services/PDFs/Hospital_Networks_Configurations_on_the_Exchanges_and_Their_Impact_on_Premiums.ashx">One study</a>&nbsp;showed that in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas, two-thirds of Obamacare plans had &ldquo;narrow&rdquo; or &ldquo;ultra-narrow&rdquo; networks that limited access to top hospitals.</p> <p> <strong>Access to Pharmaceuticals:&nbsp;</strong>Provider networks are reduced under Obamacare in an attempt to control the costs of the law&rsquo;s highly regulated plans. The same is true for drug formularies, which are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aei.org/article/health/no-you-cant-keep-your-drugs-either-under-obamacare/">becoming more restrictive.</a></p> <p> <strong>Health Insurance Costs:&nbsp;</strong>One fair assessment of a law titled the &ldquo;Affordable Care Act&rdquo; is whether it actually makes health insurance more affordable. Sadly, private health insurance premiums, on average, will continue to increase. A subset of consumers will pay less, because they suffer from a pre-existing health condition that was reflected in high premiums before Obamacare outlawed medical underwriting.</p> <p> But most healthy consumers will pay more. Although subsidies and tax credits may help low- and middle-income consumers in the exchanges, the true, unsubsidized cost of coverage remains high. Plans purchased on the individual market are now subject to all of Obamacare&rsquo;s mandates, and premiums in these markets will increase by an average of 41 percent,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/11/04/49-state-analysis-obamacare-to-increase-individual-market-premiums-by-avg-of-41-subsidies-flow-to-elderly/">according to one analysis</a>. Employer plans are not subject to all of the law&rsquo;s mandates until 2015, but the trend in insurance costs to employers&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2013/August/20/family-premiums-rise-4-percent-second-year-in-row.aspx">continues upward.</a></p> <p> <strong>Cost-Sharing:&nbsp;</strong>Premiums are one measure of cost. Other measures include out-of-pocket expenses, like co-pays and deductibles. The average individual deductible offered in Obamacare&rsquo;s bronze exchange plans is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obamacare-deductibles-deliver-hefty-sticker-shock/">$5,081, a 40 percent increase</a>&nbsp;from the average individual deductible before the reform.</p> <p> <strong>Public Spending:&nbsp;</strong>Americans are frustrated by increases in their private health care spending, but the United States still continues to pay heavily for our health care through government funds. Public spending only increases under Obamacare. The expansion of Medicaid, along with about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43472-07-24-2012-CoverageEstimates.pdf">one trillion</a>&nbsp;in subsidies and tax credits, are a couple of big-ticket items.</p> <p> Furthermore, Obamacare included a few measures that protect and subsidize health insurance companies. Some have called this a bailout for insurers, but it is not an afterthought; this was always a part of the law&rsquo;s design. The reinsurance fund, risk adjustment program, and risk corridor payouts in the law could cost much more than currently projected if insurance pools skew older and less healthy, or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-18/obamacare-s-latest-surprise-for-taxpayers-.html">if the administration decides to expand</a>&nbsp;these &ldquo;protections&rdquo; for health insurance companies. Taxpayers will be left holding the bag.</p> <p> Anything can happen over the course of the next month. Perhaps millions of missing young, healthy adults will come to the rescue of the health overhaul and boost enrollment numbers to the intended levels. But even then, the law is failing on other important ways. In order to most accurately assess the health care law, we have to see the full picture, including the overall impact on all costs and access to care.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2793323/Hadley HeathFri, 28 Feb 2014 20:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum