WASHINGTON, DC — The Independent Women’s Forum today released a paper examining how government involvement in the healthcare system disproportionately harms women and how health savings accounts — a new health insurance option that allows individuals to save for healthcare needs tax-free — can give women more access to and greater control over their health care.

“While politicians quibble about the exact costs of the Medicare prescription drug coverage, there is one fact beyond debate: healthcare is expensive, and we need to find better ways to control costs and make health coverage more affordable for American women,” said Carrie Lukas, director of policy at the Independent Women’s Forum. “Health savings accounts are critical for controlling rising healthcare costs and making the system work for women.”

Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute and author of the IWF paper, Health Savings Accounts: Making the Healthcare System Work for Women, details how government favoritism toward employer-provided health insurance actually harms women. “A system that ties health insurance to employment is certain to make healthcare less accessible to women,” said Cannon.

“Instead of picking winners and losers in the marketplace, government should level the playing field by making health savings accounts available to all Americans,” Cannon continued, “Congress should remove barriers to health savings accounts by making them available to people with all types of health insurance, as well as the uninsured. This would improve quality, control costs, and make it easier for all individuals to obtain insurance.”

“Health savings accounts have the potential to revolutionize healthcare for women, by making coverage less expensive and more responsive to women’s needs,” Lukas added. “Women should encourage policymakers to stop debating the exact cost of the healthcare bureaucracy and instead embrace legislation to expand health savings accounts and other market-based reform that put power back in the hands of patients.”