Women’s health care not up to par, according to new report

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Women’s health care not up to par, according to new report

Women’s health care not up to par, according to new report

With more than 46 million Americans without health insurance, it is perhaps common sense that there are going to be problems with the healthcare system in the United States. But, a recent report underscores just how big the problem is: Overall, women in the United States are receiving unsatisfactory healthcare.

According to the report, entitled "Making the Grade for Women’s Health: A National and State-by-State Report Card," which was released by the National Women’s Law Center and Oregon Health and Science University, women’s healthcare across the board received unsatisfactory marks. The report grades states based on the 27 benchmarks, or goals that have been outlined by the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People agenda.

Of the 27 benchmarks, only a dismal three were met. The three benchmarks that were met were the percentage of: those women 40 and older who regularly undergo mammograms; those women 50 and older who have been and are regularly screened for colorectal cancer; and those women who annually go to the dentist.

Still, only three out of 27 benchmarks were met, which led to the overall unsatisfactory grade given to women’s healthcare. Only three of the fifty states – Vermont, Minnesota and Massachusetts, a drop of five from 2004, were given "satisfactory minus" grades.

In addition to Washington D.C., a total of eleven states – West Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Indiana, Arkansas, and Alabama – were all given failing marks for women’s healthcare, an increase of almost double from those that failed in 2004. The remaining states were all given unsatisfactory marks.

All of the fifty states saw an increase in women’s obesity, which led to an increase of diabetes in women in 46 states. Also on the rise are cardiovascular diseases that are directly related to obesity.

Additionally, not one state fulfilled the benchmark of ensuring women have access to affordable healthcare. Eighteen percent of all women, between 18 and 64, in the United States do not have health insurance. To compound the problem, five states made it much more difficult for people with low incomes to purchase health insurance when they dropped the eligibility levels for Medicaid.

In addition to the 27 benchmarks, states were also evaluated on whether or not they implemented 63 policies related to women’s health. Again, every single state failed to implement all policies. All 50 states, however, managed to implement two of the 63 policies – ensuring that Medicaid covers treatment for cervical and breast cancer and by taking part in the Food Stamp Nutrition and Education Program.

Still, there are some bright spots in the report. Twenty states, an increase from eleven three years ago, implemented policies that require health insurance companies to pay for colorectal screenings while the same number of states have made it a requirement for health insurance companies to pay for yearly mammograms for those women 40 and older.  Eleven states have also made it mandatory for health insurance companies to pay for osteoporosis screening.