North Carolina is ranked 40th in the country and received a final grade of D- for health coverage for women in the 2014 Women’s Health Report Card released today by Action NC. The report card provides an important measure of the state’s record on women’s health as politicians court women voters ahead of the November elections and continue to debate whether North Carolina will accept federal funds to cover more uninsured adults under Medicaid.
Currently, there are more than 200,000 uninsured women in North Carolina who could get health care coverage if politicians agreed to take up federal funding for Medicaid expansion.
“This report card shows North Carolina has a failing record on women’s health. We’re failing women and the families that depend on them, and we’re especially failing women of color,” said Kevin Rogers, Policy Director for Action NC, the group releasing the report. “These grades should serve as an urgent call to action for North Carolina leaders. It’s time to get past political gridlock and start improving women’s health. The first step Governor McCrory and the legislature should take is to move forward with expanding health coverage to uninsured women through an expanded Medicaid system.”
North Carolina’s final rank and grade were based on rankings and grades in three areas: health coverage for women, women’s access to health care, and women’s health outcomes. On coverage, North Carolina ranked #40 in the country, a grade of D-. On access to health care, North Carolina ranked #26, a grade of C. And on health outcomes, North Carolina ranked #28, a grade of C-.
“Expanding Medicaid is a critical opportunity for North Carolina to start catching up with the other states that have better records on women’s health,” said Pat McCoy, Executive Director of Action NC. “But if Governor McCrory and the leadership at the North Carolina General Assembly continue to drag their feet, we’re only going to fall further behind other states. Women who are denied health care, and the families who depend on them, are paying the price.”
Looking at women’s health by race, the report card finds North Carolina is doing an even worse job meeting the needs of women of color, who are uninsured at higher rates and also face worse health outcomes than women overall, adding urgency to the debate over Medicaid expansion.
“It’s time for politicians to put aside partisan bickering, start advocating for women, and take action to improve women’s health by expanding Medicaid,” said LeeAnn Hall, executive director of the Alliance for a Just Society, which produced the report card. “Our families, our communities, and our economy depend on women – women must be able to depend on North Carolina to deliver on the promise of quality, affordable health care.”
The 2014 Women’s Health Report Card uses the latest available data from government sources to rank North Carolina among the 50 states on 30 measures (and more than 50 individual data points) relating to women’s health issues. It generates state rankings and grades, analyzes race-based disparities, and includes specific recommendations for state action to improve women’s health.
Action NC is a nonprofit, non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to confronting and reducing the root causes of poverty, underdevelopment, and social and economic inequality through grassroots education, training, organization and mobilization. Learn more at www.actionnc.org.
The Alliance for a Just Society is a national policy, research and organizing network focused on racial and economic justice. The Alliance has produced pivotal reports on state and national health issues including Medicaid/CHIP, prescription drugs, and insurance industry practices for 20 years. www.allianceforajustsociety.org