Women’s Health acknowledges the number one killer of women – heart disease. Since the 1970’s, obesity in women has risen by more than a quarter, to a rate of 36 percent. This rate is particularly high among African American (52.3 percent) and Mexican-American women (50.1 percent).

Cancer is the second leading health concern of U.S. women after heart disease. Since 1987, lung cancer has been the top cancer killer among American women. Over the past 10 years, the mortality rate from lung cancer has declined in men but has continued to rise in women. Studies indicate this is almost exclusively due to increased rates of cigarette smoking in women.

womens health cigaretteBreast cancer is the second leading cancer killer among women. Although lung cancer kills more women each year than breast cancer, there are more new cases of breast cancer every year than lung cancer. The estimated lifetime probability of getting breast cancer for women is now 1 in 8, compared to the lifetime risk of getting lung cancer of 1 in 17.

Important new discoveries of the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 that cause many forms of inherited breast cancer rank among the greatest breakthroughs in the war on cancer.

At least 26.4 million American women have arthritis, the leading chronic and the most common disabling condition reported. Women aged 15 years and older account for 60% of arthritis cases. By the year 2020, an estimated 36 million women will be affected.

Osteoporosis is a major health threat. 10 million Americans already have the disease and 18 million more have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk. 80% of those affected by osteoporosis are women.

Although it is important for everyone to have health insurance available to them, it is particularly important for pregnant women. The reason is obvious – there are many things that can go wrong during pregnancy.

It is essential that pregnant women receive regular check-ups in order to ensure that the pregnancy is progressing properly with no detectable problems the unborn child.

Unfortunately, many pregnant women do not have health insurance. And, statistics show that when they deliver, their babies are more likely to have low birth weight and higher incidents of death.

Getting insurance while pregnant can be a significant problem in the United States. According to the American Health Association, 41 million Americans are not insured, and around 13% pregnant women in the country do not possess any form of health insurance.

The problem is that most companies do not accept new insurance policies from pregnant women whose pregnancy has been assessed as a pre-existing condition. It’s much easier to get health insurance before you get pregnant.

Pennsylvania Home Health Care is charged about $6,800 per worker for health insurance – $2,000 more than the national average. One reason: nearly every one of the 175 employees is a woman.

Insurers say women under the age of 55 cost more to cover because they use more health services. From maternity and reproductive care to contending at younger ages with cervical and breast cancers. Women also use more prescription drugs.

Insurance execs reiterate that insurance is all about risk and women are simply a higher risk. Industry “morbidity tables” show that until their mid-50’s, women cost significantly more than men.

Gender rating is part of a complex formula of risk factors insurers say has been necessary to fairly price policies. But advocacy groups for women argue that charging more for women than men is discriminatory and should be illegal.

Women already make less money than men, and to force them to also pay more for health insurance is considered blatantly unfair to many. The extra money an employer must pay to insure a group of women often gets passed along to workers in the form of higher premiums and deductibles.

The National Women’s Law Center has been publicizing the issue with a campaign called “Being a Woman Is Not a Pre-Existing Condition.”

New health insurance legislation would subsidize insurance for poorer Americans and create health insurance exchanges to make it easier for small groups and individuals to purchase coverage. It would also cap annual out-of-pocket expenses and prevent insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

At a projected cost of $1,000,000,000,000 (Trillion) dollars over 10 years. The new laws would charge fees on insurance companies, drugmakers, medical device manufacturers, levy additional taxes on insurance companies, cut Medicare and Medicaid, and fine individuals who fail to purchase affordable coverage.

Everyone must get coverage through an employer, on their own or through a government plan. There will be a few exemptions for economic hardship.

Employers would not be required to offer coverage, but companies with more than 50 full-time workers would pay a fee if the government ends up subsidizing employees’ coverage.

All plans sold to individuals and small businesses would have to cover basic benefits, including primary care, hospitalization and prescription drugs.

Insurance companies could not deny coverage or charge higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions.

One tough issue, still not resolved in the bill, is provision to prohibit or allow the use of federal money to pay for abortions.

Opponents of the bill argue that, “Americans’ health care is too important to risk on one gigantic bill that is negotiated behind closed doors”, saying that, “Medicare cuts will hurt seniors, tax increases will kill jobs and the government takeover of health care will increase premium costs.”

“I got kicked out of the gym because I pulled a groin muscle. It wasn’t mine”. – Rita Rudner

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