In my Women's Studies class at the University of Michigan, I came across two conflicting viewpoints on the Affordable Care Act, A.K.A ObamaCare. I read Cosmopolitan's article by Senior Correspondent for Kaiser Health News, Phil Galewitz, and Julie Borowski's blog response to that article. When I read Borowski's response, I felt some strong emotions surge because of how she twisted the principles of feminism to fit her conservative viewpoints on the ACA. The so-called negatives that Borowski brings to readers' attention are mostly based on her own opinions, which seem to have been formed from looking at the ACA through a clouded lens.
What hits closest to home for me is what she lists as the number one problem with the Affordable Care Act: staying on one's parents' health insurance policies until the age of 26. Borowski poses the question of "Is still being dependent on mom and dad something to celebrate?" and takes offense to the term "adult children" used in the legislation. Her reasoning is that "women in our mid-20's are not children. Whatever happened to Cosmopolitan magazine promoting female empowerment and independence?" As someone who is very pleased to be able to remain on my mother's healthcare plan through my college years, I have trouble understanding this line of thinking.
First of all, this piece of the ACA was made to assist the population of young people who are not insured because they are on one hand too old to stay on parents' plans but on the other are not able to purchase an individual plan (either due to financial instability or to the nature of their job). This part of the ACA is specifically aimed at young college students who are going to school to gain a degree. The idea is that, given more time, these students will graduate and get job experience, which will give them the opportunity to get to a place where they are provided health insurance by an employer or they make enough money to pay for private insurance.
Borowski claims her issue with the term "adult children" is the lack of female empowerment and independence, but the term isn't restricted to females--both men and women fit under this category, and it is used to describe young people who still need some support from their parents while going to school. Her issue with word choice just doesn't make sense to me, especially when her reasoning behind her argument is feminism. The term "adult children" does not specifically attack or oppress women. While another word or phrase could do a better job of describing healthcare dependent adults, this isn't a feministic problem because it affects both men and women alike rather than the latter alone.
Another "problem" Borowski associates with the ACA is an increase in female dependence on Medicaid. She twists the increased Medicaid coverage the ACA promotes into a negative by saying "Encouraging young women to be dependent on the government is not exactly a message of female empowerment." When I read this, what I heard was, "being on Medicaid is not desirable and women who are on Medicaid are dependent, weak, and are taking advantage of the government." Medicaid is, in its simplest definition, provided to those who are in financial need and lack healthcare coverage. By expanding Medicaid coverage, more people who are still in poverty can get the health services they need. I think it is a marker of strength to be able to put aside pride to ask and accept help from any source, including the government. The idea that women on Medicaid aren't empowered is a horrible generalization.
These were just two of the problems Borowski addressed in her piece, and while she is entitled to her opinion, I see a glaring problem in how she expresses her disagreement and I cannot NOT express my thoughts on this topic. You can be for the ACA, against it, not have an opinion--whatever! People are wired to think differently and have their own conclusions and opinions, but when feminism is incorrectly used as a source for disagreement, I, as a female who supports the advancement of women, can't remain silent.
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