Guess what?! A middle-aged white man said something stupid on Fox News! Yesterday, John Stossel of Fox Business News complained about ObamaCare, claiming that the Act’s insistence that health insurance companies not discriminate against women based on gender is unfair to him and his wallet.
Arguing that women should really be charged more for health insurance, Stossel explains to Steve Doocy, “When did you last go to the doctor? Elizabeth’s going to answer quite quickly. Women go to the doctor much more often than men. Maybe they’re smarter, or maybe they’re hypochondriacs. They live longer. But if it’s insurance, you ought to be able to charge the people who use the services more, more.”
Sorry, ladies, but your secret hypochondria IS A SECRET NO MORE. As Doocy sarcastically, and oh so charmingly responds, “But, John, you’re not paying attention! This administration, this president wants to make everything fair.” SIGH.
Of course, Stossel and Doocy realize that hypochondria can’t be the only reason women should pay more for health insurance—women also have babies which means they have to get this thing called maternity coverage (ugh), and why should a man in his 60s pay for that? No really, Doocy asks this question: “As a number of Republicans have made the argument, why should I pay for — I’m in my 60s, why should I pay for your maternity coverage?”
These justifications for why women should be charged more for health insurance make Stossel look ridiculous enough, but factually, his claims are also severely problematic. According to the National Women’s Law Center’s 2012 report, insurers charged women in the health insurance market about 1 billion more annually on their premiums alone, regardless of whether they had a baby. And, in 88 percent of individual market plans, maternity costs extra. With the “gender rating” practice that The Affordable Care Act made illegal, women wouldn’t be paying a little, but an obscene amount more each year.
Aside from the obvious offensiveness of Stossel’s argument, the idea that women use preventive services more and should thus be charged more completely misses the point: men shouldn’t be shaming women about their use of health insurance, but instead making the effort to use available services themselves— isn’t that the point of health insurance, after all?