According to a report issued by the National Women’s Law Center, health policies in the United States are not meeting the needs of American women. The report, “Making the Grade on Women’s Health,” found that more than one in eight women lack health insurance. Of those with health insurance, many women, especially low-income women, do not have access to comprehensive policies that include adequate prescription drug coverage or coverage for hospital stays after childbirth. Access to reproductive health care in general is in need of critical improvement. Almost one and three women live in a county without an abortion provider, and only two states can claim that 90 percent of pregnant women receive pre-natal care. The health care situation for the elderly is not much better, as 32 states do not have adequate services for women in nursing home facilities. Three of four nursing home residents are women.
There has been some progress in health care policies for women since last year, as states improved screening efforts for certain types of cancer and extended coverage for medications for the poor. Poverty, violence, and lack of education, however, continue to hamper women’s health in every state in the nation. Overall, the report, using standards established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, gave the nation an unsatisfactory grade on health care for women, concluding “Women are second class citizens when it comes to health care in America.”