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Sen. Feinstein Blasts The 'All Male' Senate Group To Write Healthcare Bill

The California senator wondered why Leader McConnell excluded the five female Republican senators from helping to craft healthcare legislation.
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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) questioned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's thinking and was upset that the he hand-selected a committee consisting of only thirteen white men to craft the Senate healthcare bill when the country is made up of a majority of women.

Andrea Mitchell anchored Meet The Press this morning and quizzed the California senator about the healthcare kerfuffle.

Mitchell asked, "Can enough Democrats go over or enough moderate Republicans be persuaded that they should vote for something? Or what has to come out of the bill for you to consider supporting it?"

Feinstein replied, "Well first, I don't know what the Leader McConnell has in mind. I don't know that the thirteen white men, when you have five Republican women who are excluded from that, that these thirteen men are supposed to sit down and put something together."

Mitchell explained, "You're speaking of the working group that has been put together -- And it's all male."

Feinstein continued, "And it's all male. And women's health is a big part of this, and women are a majority of the population, and their health interests deserve to be contemplated in any form."

Republicans immediately played the "political correctness" card after McConnell thought women were not needed to offer any input into crafting their healthcare bill.

"We have no interest in playing the games of identity politics, that's not what this is about; it's about getting a job done..."

"To reduce this to gender, race or geography misses the more important point of the diverse segments of the conference the group represents on policy -- from members who support Medicaid expansion, to those opposed to it, to those who have called for long term full repeal," the aide added.

Tara Parker-Pope writes in the NY Times:

Being female is essentially a pre-existing condition that inflates a woman’s health care costs, explains Denise Grady in today’s Science Times. She writes:

Until now, it has been perfectly legal in most states for companies selling individual health policies — for people who do not have group coverage through employers — to engage in “gender rating,” that is, charging women more than men for the same coverage, even for policies that do not include maternity care. The rationale was that women used the health care system more than men. But some companies charged women who did not smoke more than men who did, even though smokers have more risks. The differences in premiums, from 4 percent to 48 percent, according to a 2008 analysis by the law center, can add up to hundreds of dollars a year.

You'd think "getting the job done" would be made better by having input from members of the population most affected by our healthcare system.

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