ACA, gender equality and affirmative action

My brother was tweeting a few things about the healthcare mandate in Obamacare that says insurers can’t charge women more than men for the same coverage. I wanted to respond but 140 character is just too small of a space to hold everything I have to say about the topic.

Equal rights for everybody is very un-American? Our country has a long history of equal rights for minorities.

On the social engineering remark, our country has had 200+ years of social engineering slanted for the benefit of white men. I don’t think you can just flip a switch one day, declare that everybody is equal and call it good. If there’s any doubt about that, just look at how women are still paid less than men for the same jobs… and that’s with the affirmative action pieces in place. I don’t think that gets any better if you drop the affirmative action policies in our country.

In order to counter act the social forces of race and gender, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with bringing some other groups up for a while.

Even if this is true:

Insurers said they charged women more than men because claims showed that women ages 19 to 55 tended to use more health care services. They are more likely to visit doctors, to get regular checkups, to take prescription drugs and to have certain chronic illnesses.

Even if this is true, what’s wrong with normalizing the costs between all people, regardless of gender? That’s the basic goal of insurance isn’t it? The healthy people pay in their affordable monthly premiums to pay for the costs of the sick?

I promise though, the insurance companies are going to be just fine. Men might have to pay a little more to meet women in the middle but I’m personally OK with that.

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  1. I agree entirely!

    Tommy misses the point when it comes to how insurance is meant to work :P.

    In addition, given that women have better long term health outcomes and longer life expectancy than males, the argument made by insurance companies doesn’t make a great deal of sense. Sounds like the trend is for women to spend more money… on preventative healthcare. As opposed to expensive in-hospital costs.

    1. Oh believe me, I understand how insurance works. One of my areas of focus in studying accounting is pension and insurance accounting. Insurance companies exist to make lots of money, and more power to them. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to charge women more for specific reasons, or to charge men more based on their healthcare use, or shemales or gays or straights or cats or goats or who the hell ever.

      As for social engineering, I agree that it has been necessary at times to step in when egregious violations regarding racial equality or gender equality are occuring. Now is not one of those times, the issues facing us today regarding equality cannot be fixed by legislation, but should be fixed through social justice and natural capitalist accountability.

      1. From a managers perspective, having consulted with several industry managers, the idea of equal pay legislation is silly and will have the opposite effect. If I’m a manager and I’m going to be exposed to some kind of equal pay lawsuit based on new legislation, when I’m considering whether to hire a young woman or young man, I’m going to go with the man because it limits my legal liability and limits my long term costs and exposure.

        Social justice and natural capitalist
        Mechanisms are the answer to gender inequality in the work place, not legislation.

        1. Also, affirmative action is not equality, it specifically results in reverse racism and eliminates the prospect of actual merit based achievements.

        2. Luckily, not many companies/managers in the US have the same, backward ass logic as you re: hiring women since lots of women are employed in our country.

          Another thing managers might do to deal with gender inequality is to, you know, pay women the same as men for the same job. Weird concept I now. 😉

      2. Just wondering what you mean by social justice and natural capitalist mechanisms exactly- was hoping you could elaborate specifically on how it leads to greater equality.

        1. For instance, when a professional firm (CPA, law, medical, etc.) is recruiting employees, one of the things they will mention is the ratio of male pay to female pay or male employees vs. female employees…also professional advocacy groups such as the TSCPA in the case of the accounting field, keep a close eye on gender equality andpay ratios in firms in the state and rate firms accordingly. Such issues are important to prospective employees, especially women. If a firm wants torecruit the best and most qualifiedpeople, in order to be better than their competition in the marketplace, they must hold equal pay and employment ratios as paramount focuses.

          This is just one example of this concept. The same thing applies to prospective clients and customers when looking at companies in the market place.

          1. But the idea of regulating insurance premiums to force equality is intended to achieve a social goal. It is not intended to, nor does it,achieve a financial goal that is economically beneficial to the insurance firm. In fact, it is financially harmful and companies will compensate in other ways that will be passed on to the consumer rather than lose revenue.

            In this situation, I usually side with the prospect that generates more wealth over the one that achieves a social objective.

            I do not believe that it is the role of the government to force social objectives on the markets via legislation.

            And on this point, I digress!

          2. Surely though, if all firms have the same but discriminatory policy (eg not employing women because they think that they’re a financial liability if/when they get pregnant), then regardless of professional advocacy groups, the net effect is that even if they’re “meant” to have appropriate ratios, it still won’t happen?

  2. In this situation, I usually side with the prospect that generates more wealth over the one that achieves a social objective.

    What’s best for companies isn’t necessarily what’s best for workers and society. Yes, companies exist to make money and the government exists to make sure that companies do so in a moral way that’s fair.

    Implying that equality laws make gender inequality worse is like saying soup kitchens caused the great depression.

    1. Mike, wasn’t talking about all equality laws, just women’s pay legislation. Affirmative action doesn’t make the situation worse for minorities, it’s just unfair to white people in a lot of cases. I said the prospect is Un-American because in America you’re supposed to achieve things based on merit–like getting into a college. Affirmative Action laws actually specifically sanction racial discrimination.

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