by Chris Lombardi
It's been a summer of shouting about health care, and health insurance. Now, with President Obama about to address the issue to a joint session of Congress, some new studies — one by a nonprofit think tank, one from the federal Department of Health and Human Services — suggest that for older women, the outcome of all this debate matters more than most.
Researchers from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, in an article from the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy entitled "Coverage and Expenses: Impact on Older Women’s Economic Well-Being," used a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older to explore the financial burden of health and long-term care — and concluded what many of us guessed was true:
Women’s health care expenses were higher than men’s; older women paid for a greater share of their total spending out of pocket and they faced a greater financial burden by shouldering these out-of-pocket costs with less income at their disposal. Low-income women, those with Medigap or no supplemental coverage, and white women, who are less likely to qualify for Medicaid which covers long term care, faced the greatest financial burdens associated with health and long-term care costs.
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