As our elected officials continue to debate how to improve our health-care system, this is the time to address some of the disparities that women face in health care today.
Women currently pay 68 percent more out-of-pocket costs than men largely because of reproductive health care needs. In 2007, 25 percent of women reported delaying or skipping health care because of cost.
And one out of five women of child-bearing age is uninsured. Women's reproductive health care needs -- including things like birth control, annual exams and breast cancer screening -- should be included as basic health care in health care reform and should be accessible to all women.
These health needs are not expendable or non-essential. They should not be included as an afterthought nor should they be the subject of political debate.
Reproductive health care is simply basic health care for women. Women must be better off after health care reform than they are today.