Campaign 2010

Nov 07, 2009

Pete Sessions Says Insurance Companies OK to Discriminate Against Women

During last night's HouseRules Committee debate on health insurance reform, NationalRepublican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Pete Sessions compared beinga woman to being a smoker and endorsed the notion that big healthinsurance companies should charge women more than men for health care.  Accordingto Open Secrets, Congressman Pete Sessions has taken more than $400,000 frombig insurance companies.

 

"The NRCC and extreme rightwing of the Republican Party is totally out of step with women. First, the NRCC says that a man ought to put the first woman Speaker ofthe House ‘in her place.' Then, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions compared beinga woman to being a smoker while defending his big insurance company pals'practice of charging women more than men for health care," said JenniferCrider, spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  "Idon't know what's scarier, whether NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions actually believeswomen are second class citizens or whether he believes it's politicallybeneficial for the NRCC to say so. America's mothers, sisters, anddaughters deserve better than this divisive and biased rhetoric from theNational Republican Congressional Committee."

 

 

Background

 

  • At last night's House Rules Committee debate about health insurance reform, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions responded to a question about women paying more for health insurance than men by saying, "Well, we're all different. Why should a smoker pay more?" [Courthouse News, 11/6/2009]

 

  • Representative Pete Sessions has taken over $400,000 from insurance industry contributors. [Open Secrets]

 

  • "Striking new evidence has emerged of a widespread gap in the cost of health insurance, as women pay much more than men of the same age for individual insurance policies providing identical coverage, according to new data from insurance companies and online brokers." [New York Times, 10/30/2008]

 

  • Currently, women of child-bearing age pay higher rates based on their gender and are routinely (and legally) denied coverage if they are pregnant.  Legislation pending in Congress would dramatically change the rules [McClatchy Newspapers; October 7, 2009]

 

  • Defending the practice, one insurance spokesman called pregnancy a "matter of choice." To make matters worse, many insurance companies consider C-Sections a "pre-existing condition" while a subsidiary of United Health, one of the biggest insurance companies in the nation, "simply rejects" women who have had C-Sections. [San Francisco Chronicle, 3/24/09], [New York Times, 6/1/08]

 

 

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