Today's Winner: Fuse
The local lefty activist group Fuse published a spoof version of the Seattle Times today: The Slanted Times.
Featuring a contest to see if readers can tell the difference between Tim Eyman and Seattle Times quotes—"If not for the passage of Initiative 1053 and its tougher-to-raise-taxes policies, Gregoire and the Democrats would only be debating which taxes to unilaterally increase and by how much"; a "Mis-Truth Needle" that documents a parade of Times editorials betraying the supposedly even-keeled paper as leaning Republican; and a series of Times endorsements for losing conservative candidates (Mike McGavick?) that demonstrate just how out-of-step the Times editorial board is with the public—the Slanted Times offers a left-wing check on the paper that's been "leaning right since 1896."
Check it out here.
However, we wouldn't be giving Fuse today's winning Jolt if it weren't for something they actually did last week, which blew up online today with thousands of likes on Facebook and landing on the front page of Mother Jones after getting "Chart of the Day."
The upshot: Of 46 states for which data is available, just 12 prohibit gender discrimination in health care prices. (Washington is one of them). In all the other states, women generally pay more than men---in several states, for example, a 40-year-old woman buying a typical individual plan pays more than $1,200 more than a 40-year-old man for the same coverage over a year. The data for group health care plans is less shocking, but still consistent: In the absence of anti-discrimination laws, women pay more than men for the same health care coverage.
As you might have heard, the arguments for Obamacare's health insurance mandate didn't go so well today, with likely swing-vote justice Anthony Kennedy striking a skeptical note about the mandate and suggesting that requiring citizens to purchase a specific product, like health care, might violate the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.
The health care act would ban the common practice of "gender rating," under which insurance companies routinely charge women more than men for the same health care coverage. Overall, gender rating costs women approximately $1 billion a year in extra premiums. According to the New York Times, more than 90 percent of the top-selling insurance plans charge women more than men for the exact same coverage.
Additionally, the plan would provide preventive health care, such as mammograms for breast-cancer screening, without a co-pay, and would reclassify maternity care as an "essential health benefit." Currently, most women buying individual insurance must pay a hefty extra premium for maternity care---94 percent of individual plans do not include maternity coverage.