As if the gobbledygook from both candidates about their "health plans" which will, in Obama's case, not actually cover all people or, in McCain's case, actually tax people on health benefits for the first time since ERISA was passed in the 1970s, wasn't enough to drive you completely insane, brace yourselves.
According to a report in the New York Times, women purchasing individual (i.e., not employer-based) health plans pay on average 30% more for their policies than men. Why? Because they "use more healthcare" and "have children."
"Using more healthcare" usually means that women get less sick than men--this is one reason why women live longer. Men are less likely to go to the doctor until they are very sick or broken or coughing up blood--which means expensive bills later instead of women's smaller bills over time. But insurance companies hope against hope (and, a lot of times, they're right) that men will wait until they're 65 to get really expensively sick and then they're Medicare's problem.
But the part that really burns my cookies is the maternity coverage. Many insurance plans cost more even if they don't include maternity benefits, which is an optional coverage that costs even more. Yes, pregnancy and childbirth are expensive and require regular medical care--but women aren't pregnant all the time so to overcharge them every month for premiums is discriminatory and ridiculous.
And even if women are the only ones who actually get pregnant, in the aggregate, men usually have a role in getting them into that family way so it's fair to share the financial burden.
Moral of the story: Insurance companies--fuck 'em.