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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Report Card Finds Most States Falling Short on Women’s Health

December 10, 2010 - Posted by Ron Bigler

Despite some progress, the majority of states received an "unsatisfactory" grade in an annual report card on women's health issued by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). Only two states – Massachusetts and Vermont – received a "satisfactory" grade, while the District of Columbia and 11 other states received a failing grade.

The report, Making the Grade on Women’s Health: A National and State-by-State Report Card, examined 68 policies affecting women’s health and found only two areas -- Medicaid coverage for breast and cervical cancer treatment and participation in the Food Stamp Nutrition and Education Program (FSNEP) -- where all states are meeting expectations. There were only 17 policy goals met by a majority of states, including “supplementing the Social Security Income (SSI) grant (46 states), external review in managed care plans (46 states), and requiring private insurance plans to include diabetes supplies and education as part of general coverage (43 states).” California with 44, New Jersey with 43, Massachusetts with 40, and New York with 39 met the highest numbers of goals assessed in the 2010 report.

On the goal of ensuring full and equal access to health care services, the report noted wide racial and ethnic disparities, with 37.6 percent of Hispanic women, 32 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native women, and 23.4 percent of Black women lacking health care coverage, compared with 13.9 percent of White women.

The report found that states are showing signs of improvement, but the progress has been slow and inconsistent. On a positive note, NWLC says many of the inadequacies in providing for women’s health will be eventually addressed under the full implementation of the March 2010 health care reform law.

The full report is available online from the National Women’s Law Center.

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