FLOTUS: Health Care A Women’s Issue

Nov 13, 2009 6:00pm

ABC’s Jordyn Phelps reports:

First Lady Michelle Obama today made the case for health care reform as an issue with special significance for women.

“Women are among those who will benefit most from health insurance reform because the truth is that women, we have a special relationship with our health care system,” Mrs. Obama said. “In a lot of families that’s true because we are the health care system in so many ways.”

The First Lady made the remarks during an event in the East Room of the White House today that brought together dozens of mostly older women to share their stories about experiences with the current health care system. 

“When all is said and done, part of why I believe so strongly in reforming our health care system is because of the difference it will make for these women who gave us life — so simple — these women who raised us, these women who supported us through the years,” Mrs. Obama said. “ They deserve better than the status quo.  They deserve a health care system that heals them and lifts them up.”

The First Lady said studies show eight in ten mothers take the lead in selecting health care providers for their children and that over ten percent of women in the United States are caring for an elderly family member.

Mrs. Obama also addressed inequalities some women face under their health insurance coverage. 

“Because women make less than 80 cents for every dollar their male coworkers make, it’s more difficult for them to pay their premiums — especially when studies show that they’re paying far more than men for the same coverage,” she said.

Turning to Medicare, the First Lady reiterated her husband’s commitment to the beneficiary program, saying “not a dime of the Medicare trust fund will be used to pay for reform.”

“My husband believes that Medicare is a sacred part of America’s social safety net, and it’s a safety net that he will protect,” the First Lady said.

Mrs. Obama was joined at today’s event by Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Health Reform Office, and three women who shared their personal stories of difficulty affording health care.

“All of these stories reflect the fundamental reality — and that is, women are among those struggling most under the status quo, the way things are,” Mrs. Obama said.

FLOTUS Fashion Watch: The First Lady wore a yellow sweater with a brocade yellow skirt and belt around her waist. Her hair was pulled back in an up-do, and she wore diamond earrings.

–Jordyn Phelps

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