A Simple Claim, A Major Assumption

My ears perked up and I set my coffee mug down when I heard the following claim thrown into a discussion  over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare):

Young people don’t need insurance.  Barring an accident like skiing or being attacked by a panda, they don’t get sick.

Normally, my coffee and I are inseparable especially in the morning.  This means the comment not only alarmed me intellectually but also got in the way of me enjoying my coffee and that is just annoying.

I don’t wish to indulge in the debate itself; however I would like to bracket this claim.  I’ve heard the comment about three times now and it forces my eyebrows to knit my forehead into premature wrinkling.  Rather than reach for the anti-aging moisturizer I’ve decided to blog.

There is something missing and assumed in the claim.  Do you see it?

In the 1940’s, philosopher Simone de Beauvoir rocked the establishment with her publication The Second Sex.  The central thread to this work evolved around the notion that normal and human were equated with man.  Woman, in contrast, was “other.”  I dare not delve into a lengthy thesis here, but I would be remiss to not mention that her writings delighted me and forged an impression that underscores some of my views.  She is my “Spidey-sense,” if you will: my “Beauvoirian-sense.”

Back to the claim that elicited my Beauvoirian-sense: Who are these “young people” not needing insurance?  Who are the youth involved in dangerous activity that might rush them to hospital?  Close your eyes and try to envision the “young” person of which the naysayers speak?

Do you picture a young man?

Again, my intention is not to debate the pros and cons of Obamacare, but only to examine the implication of this claim, for I believe it thoughtlessly casts aside the realities of women’s health.  The unsaid assumption is that the “young” are men, and it reeks of the very sort of thinking Beauvoir tackled in the 1940’s.  Women are not part of the equation in the claim.  They are “other.”  The “norm” is the young man who never gets sick.

It is quite possible that women’s health, upkeep, exams, and everything that has to do with her “parts” is simply unfamiliar.  Women themselves don’t exactly share stories about doctor visits.  It’s all hush hush.  One doesn’t announce, “I need the afternoon off because I’m going for my pap” quite the same way one freely says “I’m going to the dentist for a cleaning.”

Women do go to the doctor and not necessarily because they are sick.  From the age of 21 to 30, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend a woman sees a doctor every year for an exam (pap smear and pelvic).  These exams detect the early stages of cervical cancer.

Aside from these exams, do you notice anything else about young women with respect to seeing a doctor?

If women are pregnant then they usually seek medical attention.  If women do not want to get pregnant then they visit a doctor for birth control which requires a prescription and regular examinations.  In addition, birth control is sometimes prescribed for other health reasons such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Gentlemen, maybe you did not see a doctor in your youth but that cannot be the standard of measurement for all people.  If we view “youth” to include young women, then the answer is a resounding “Yes” to the question of whether or not they see a doctor.

Where are women’s voices in this debate?  The medical community?  The Gynecologists? Please feel free to comment and share below.

About unsolicitedtidbits

Philosophy, books, coffee, Mexican food enthusiast. View all posts by unsolicitedtidbits

6 responses to “A Simple Claim, A Major Assumption

  • isaacriera

    This is precisely why the private sector does -at least in Europe, I know the US reality far less- take into account sex when determining insurance price: in order to compensate for women’s increased need of medical care. But I digress…

    The post is dealing with bad reasoning when advancing statements like that, and there’s no doubt about it; it is flawed in that it that it originates from a narrower view of reality than what actually is.

    I am under the impression this and other errors in critical thinking are all too common and widespread today. But has it been any better in the past, at any point in mankind’s history? I mean in the general population, and not in condensed, specific historical facts that might have reached us.

    To critically think is a great cognitive tool, but it needs to be learned, trained, it is a discipline and requires precision, accuracy in statements, leaving aside the emotional while we objectively analyze facts. Aren’t we, as society, appear to be headed in a different direction?

    I am just stating this apparent fact, not passing judgement on it – I’m sleepily sipping coffee, getting ready to head to work, its monday, 7:22am. I’m in no judging mood. 🙂

    Anyway, just my 2 cents. Nice post, have a great monday.

    • unsolicitedtidbits

      Thank you for reading. I’m in complete agreement regarding the teaching of critical thinking. Logic and argument analysis should be a course in high school. Without it, we get swept up into unnecessary and angry dialogues.

  • kingmidget

    Great post. I don’t know any young ladies who don’t see the doctor regularly. I also know that when I was in my 20s I saw the doctor regularly for various maladies. I forget the exact numbers, but there was a study done that suggested that 50% of the uninsured access health care every year and something like 98% will access health care within the next three years. The idea that there’s this sizable portion of the young population that doesn’t need health care is a myth, like so much of what is said to attack the Affordable Care Act.

  • 1stpeaksteve1

    I just stumbled upon your blog and read this post…

    I have to say it put a different spin on things for me. I do believe our country needs a different system to incorporate the masses and this angle from the female perspective just made it that much more important!

    kingmidget brought up some great points as well!

    I think Obama needs a better P.R. team.

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