Obama vs. Romney 101: 5 differences on women's issues

President Obama won the women’s vote four years ago, and he’ll need to again to win reelection, given Mitt Romney’s strength among male voters. The Obama campaign has long argued that Mr. Romney is waging a “war on women.” Team Romney says it’s Mr. Obama who is waging war on women, with policies that have harmed the economic recovery – which harms women.

Here are some of the women’s issues on which the candidates differ.

1. Health care

Charles Dharapak/AP/File
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the Supreme Court ruling on health care in Washington on June 28.

When fully implemented in 2014, Mr. Obama's health-care law will add millions of women to the insurance rolls. If Romney succeeds in repealing the law, that will eliminate the subsidies and guarantees of coverage that benefit women. It will also end the requirement that insurers cover preventive services such as mammograms, prenatal care, and certain cancer screenings with no co-pays.

Starting in August 2012, insurers must also cover well-woman visits, domestic-violence screening, and breast-feeding supplies at no additional charge.  Insurance plans must also cover birth control, though religious institutions are exempted (see next item).

Romney’s fix for health care is to repeal the law, and allow innovation at the state level that promotes competition among insurers and makes coverage more affordable. His campaign website does not address women’s health issues in particular, but the campaign says women would certainly benefit from the flexibility Romney would grant states.

States can help uninsured women through public-private partnerships and subsidies, and they can help chronically ill women gain access to high-risk pools and reinsurance. Romney also says he would “unshackle” health-savings accounts by allowing funds to be used for insurance premiums.

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