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Another Example of Just How Out of Touch McCain/Palin Are on Women’s Health

Washington, DC — The Planned Parenthood Action Fund released a new TV ad today criticizing John McCain’s health care plan as being “worse for women.” The ad supports the Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s extensive grassroots efforts to directly communicate with one million undecided women in swing states.

The TV ad, titled “Worse for Women,” points to a recent study that shows McCain’s health care plan would have an adverse impact on women’s health. A recent study by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Center for American Progress Action Fund found that McCain’s health care plan would leave more women than ever struggling to find affordable health coverage and basic care. The study estimates that 59 million women, who receive their health insurance though their employer or their spouses’ employer, would be at risk of losing their coverage under McCain’s proposal, as would 30 million women with pre-existing medical conditions.

“John McCain’s health care plan can be summed up in three words: worse for women,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “What McCain has proposed is a radical health care plan that would deregulate the health care industry, let insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, even pregnancy, impose a health care tax, would not guarantee coverage of cancer screenings, and would potentially leave millions of women who receive employer-based health insurance at risk of losing their coverage.”

By proposing to deregulate the health care industry, McCain’s plan would preempt important state mandates aimed specifically at protecting women’s access to some of their most basic health needs. These state mandates include breast cancer, cervical cancer, and HPV screenings; maternity care; inclusion of contraception in comprehensive drug benefit plans; and direct access to ob/gyn’s. For example, 31 states require comprehensive drug benefit plans to include contraception, while 21 states require coverage of maternity care, and 29 states require coverage of cervical cancer screening. McCain’s plan would preempt these protections and leave women without basic care.

In addition, by deregulating the health care industry, McCain’s plan would strip away protections that prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of so-called pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy.

Lastly, by imposing a tax on health care benefits, and failing to provide a tax credit that keeps up with the soaring cost of health care, women and families could end up paying thousands more in taxes.

According to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, “For most taxpayers, McCain’s tax credit quickly becomes a tax increase. … [T]he value of the tax credit quickly falls behind rising health care costs, meaning most households with employer coverage today would soon see a tax increase. Families earning $40,000, for example, would receive a small tax cut in 2009, but by 2018 they will be paying more than $2,800 more a year in taxes.”

In addition, soaring costs in health care adversely impact women more than men. The Guttmacher Institute reports that women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, in part because of reproductive health-related supplies and services.

“The McCain-Palin ticket is dangerously out of touch when it comes to women’s health care,” said Cecile Richards. “As more voters learn about John McCain’s 125 votes against women’s health and his radical health care plan that will decrease access to affordable, quality health care, they are deciding not to support him.”

The ad will air in DC/Northern Virginia media markets.