A woman who buys her own health insurance in Ohio can count on paying more than a man for the same coverage, because of a discriminatory practice called gender rating. For many women, this can put affordable, comprehensive coverage out of reach.
President Obama's health-care law will ban such practices once it is fully implemented, but until then they remain a widespread problem.
In Ohio, 100 percent of the best-selling individual health insurance plans practice gender rating, and 100 percent exclude maternity coverage.
One plan charges a 40-year-old woman $371 more in annual premiums than a 40-year-old man for the same coverage. Another charges $669 more.
Nationwide, the effect of these discrepancies can be staggering. A new analysis by the National Women's Law Center finds that gender rating costs women approximately $1 billion a year.
Insurance companies are aware of the problem, but have not voluntarily taken steps to eliminate it. That's why provisions of the health-care law that will roll out in 2014 prohibit gender rating in the individual insurance market, require all plans on the individual market to provide maternity coverage, and prohibit sex discrimination in health plans from insurance companies that receive federal funds.
The practice of gender rating is not going away by itself. This national problem demands a national solution. We have one in the health-care law.
Co-President National Women's Law Center Washington, D.C.
Rally ignored issue of abuse by priests
I agree with the Toledo man who tried to say at the rally against the federal health-care mandate on contraception coverage that there seems to be a huge gap between concern for the yet-to be-born and for children who were sexually abused by priests ("500 rally to oppose health-care mandate," March 24).
Where is the Catholic population's outrage about children who were put at risk by bishops who transferred known pedophile priests? To this day, there seems to be a casual attitude about this issue and out-of-proportion indignation over birth-control insurance.
Mary Jean Mccarty
Family stability is paramount
The Catholic Church does not oppose the mandate because it wants to restrict people's happiness. It wishes to set people on the path to happiness through family stability.
Some Catholic bishops understand that artificial contraception can split a family by separating the pleasure of sex from its fruit. Some people desire sex without commitment; the bishops know this is not God's design.
About half of all marriages in this country end in divorce. How many people die each year as a result of domestic abuse? How many unwed mothers are the state supporting? What about the millions of children who are murdered by abortion, which is nothing more than backup birth control?
The bishops know that this mandate will deal a severe blow to family stability. As the family goes, so goes the nation.
Let's take a break from issue's debate
There should be a moratorium on the contraception debate, so that we can re-examine our values and move forward in a more-civilized fashion.
Catholics have led the charge in attacking the contraception mandate, which they deem a breach of their religious freedom. Catholics must examine their response to pro-life issues across the spectrum. This includes not only opposition to unjust war and the death penalty, but also the most basic pro-life issue that exists: environmental stewardship.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency went a long way toward ensuring continued quality of life for all people when it passed tougher mercury and greenhouse-gas emissions standards. Rather than applauding these efforts for being pro-Catholic and pro-life, famous Catholics such as GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said the EPA hates blue-collar America. Fellow candidate Newt Gingrich called for the elimination of the agency.
To be credible, Catholics must be consistently pro-life. We must not let our faith become a political football.
Rally article, trivia question interesting
On the same day of your article about the rally, on your Peach Plus page you had this trivia challenge: "Within 10 percent, what percentage of American Catholic women have used artificial birth control, according to Fox News?"
The answer: Ninety-eight percent.
Gesu fund loss poses questions
I was surprised to read about the money loss at Gesu Catholic Church ("Parish says missing cash totals $510,000; Fiscal obligations covered, letter says," March 26). I was shocked that a parish in Toledo would have half a million dollars in its treasury, and that so much money could be missing for so long, yet was not needed to pay the bills.
How could the police and parish have no suspects after 4 1/2 years of investigation? How many people could have had access to that money?
I hope there is no cover-up. Everyone deserves to know more about this investigation.
Mary Jo Daoust
'Transgression' an understatement?
What must the hard-working people of Gesu be thinking? Probably not what the pastor labeled the missing money -- an "apparent transgression."
The Catholic community is wondering what is going on. We're all waiting.
Catholic Church mired in past
I am a lifelong Catholic who recognizes all the good the church has done. But the church is the biggest good ol' boys clubs ever known, and is mired in the past.
Until women are accepted as equals, and are ordained, the voice of the church largely will go unheeded.