Monday, June 09, 2008

Let's live up to the Equal Pay Act

President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963. 45 years later, we have Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Like Knitaly wrote, why must we fight the same battles, over and over, for rights that we thought had been formerly won?

The schoolyard was aghast because one of the mothers is about to lose her health insurance. Her husband moved out, leaving her with 3 children still at home. He says that he will inform her when he files for divorce.

By law, she can stay on his health insurance plan for 18 months if she pays for it under COBRA. After that, she is on her own. She had been hospitalized with a life-threatening illness in the past year, so any individual health coverage she obtains will likely carry a rider that waives coverage for any related conditions for the first two years of coverage. 24 months. 18 months. Paying for dual coverage in the interim. You do the math.

She is a stay at home mom (SAHM) with no outside employment (other than much-appreciated volunteer work at our local school). Oh, yeah, he wants to sell the house, too. She will be sick, kicked out of her home and her medical plan, and looking for a job during a recession that pays well enough to leave her something to live on after healthcare and childcare costs.

SAHM is one of the most stressful and risky career tracks--at-will employment with no protections.


  1. That is horrendous. Not a day goes past that I don't thank whatever fates caused me to be born in a country with socialised medicine.

    My partner ended up in hospital for four days last week, his heart was in an irregular rhythm and he was all hooked up to cardiac monitors. All very scary, but he came home on Saturday with a bag full of medicine that cost around $10 for a month's supply, and no other costs - no bills, nothing. Since then he's been back to the GP twice, cost = nothing. Two lots of blood test - cost nothing. And he's going back into hospital for an operation in a month or so - cost? Nothing.

    Why America can't get its collective head around this being a good idea is so beyond me. You all pay for health care twice - through your taxes and then through your health insurance. We only have to pay once.

  2. Actually, we pay more than twice. 1/3 of the people in LA Metro don't have health insurance, so they swamp the county health system. If you look at a map of the hospitals that have closed, you will see the regions where the uninsured live.

    In the other areas, they manage to collect enough from the insured to stay in business after providing care to the (fewer) uninsured.

    Each employed person covers, on average, one other family member. Add the uninsured person, and we are paying for 3.

    Because the compensation that the insurance plans offer is so low compared to what the doctors insist they need to stay in business, the doctors charge more than the covered amount. Or they drop out of the PPO network.

    Anyway, I cover myself twice, once under my employment and once under my husband's. I was a math major, but I can't even begin to figure out how many people we pay for.

    I wouldn't mind paying taxes, if EVERYONE was covered in a meaningful way.

    We used the Australian health care system during our month long trip in 2005. We were so impressed. The doctor's visit was $30 US. The prescription was less than $10 US. Everyone was nice and they saw a sick tourist on short notice without complaint or red tape. Why can't we have a system like that?

  3. Anonymous08:23

    The technician I worked with at my previous job was getting divorced and doing the same thing to his wife, who had a serious medical condition. He would brag about how he was screwing her over, getting back at her for all the stuff she had done to him over the years. It's not the reason I changed jobs, but I do enjoy the fact that I don't have to deal with this guy anymore.

  4. I've never really understood how vindictive some people get when a relationship ends. I can't imagine doing what the SAHM's soon to be ex-husband is doing. Even if he now hates his wife, surely he still loves his children and doesn't want to put them through the stress of watching their mother struggle like this?

    And I agree- our system for paying for health care in this country is a complete disaster. It is an embarrassment.


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