Sunday, August 2, 2009

Working Wives, Unemployed Husbands

In the current recession, two things are happening which we need to address politically and individually. One, women are increasingly becoming the breadwinners in their families and two, when the breadwinner loses their job the whole family is at risk of losing their health insurance.

A fascinating and timely article titled Women Breadwinners, Men Unemployed written by Heather Boushey, the Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress examines these current realities and their impact on our lives. Boushey notes:

The reason that more married couples now boast women as the primary breadwinners is because men have experienced greater job losses than women over the course of this recession, losing three-out-of-every-four jobs lost. This puts a real strain on family budgets since women typically earn only 78 cents for every dollar men earn.

What’s equally worrisome is that most families receive health insurance through the employers of their husbands. So when husbands lose their jobs, families are left struggling to find ways to pay for health insurance at the same time they are living on just a third of their prior income.
Worrisome, indeed. Even though my husband and I are married and have been for over twenty years we have a “single + one” health insurance plan through his work that, if he were to lose his job, would be very expensive to replace, even though we are only insuring two relatively healthy people with no life threatening pre-existing conditions.

My income as a writer would not come close to covering this cost. Which is why I’m tempted to contact my representatives in government during their summer break and encourage them to move fast to make sure we pass some kind of health care reform bill.

Families of all incomes and sizes need to be protected, recession-proofed, so that even more people do not become uninsured.

Flickr Photo by keltickelton (cc)


Erin-Joi said...

I have already contacted my representatives and will do so again because my 42 yo single brother does not have health insurance. He runs a soup kitchen and shellter and the nuns cannot afford to give him health insurance.

Laura S. Scott said...

Good for you! Sorry for your brother.