Women’s Health ‘Unsatisfactory’ in U.S., Study Finds
"Simply getting to a doctor -- or paying for a visit -- remains the biggest barrier between health" and women, according to a new study released Monday by the National Women's Law Center, the Oregon Health & Science University and the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the Portland Oregonian reports (Lawton, Portland Oregonian, 12/11). In the 263-page study, titled "Making the Grade on Women's Health: A National and State-by-State Report Card 2001," researchers examined 33 health status indicators and 32 health policy indicators in women's health care, based on goals set by HHS. Researchers then ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia on the health status of women. The study found that more than one in eight women lack health insurance, and that, many health insurance plans do not "meet women's needs." Only six states, for example, require "comprehensive" coverage for hospital stays after childbirth "for the period of time deemed necessary by the woman's physician." The study also found "substantial disparities" in women's health care by state and by race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. In addition, the study found that the nation has not "adequately" fought cardiovascular disease, the "number one killer" of women in the United States. The report issued the United States an overall grade of "Unsatisfactory" for women's health care, and no state received an overall grade of "Satisfactory." Among individual states, Hawaii ranked first overall, while Louisiana -- the only state to receive a failing grade -- ranked last. Regan Ralph, vice president of health and reproductive rights for the NWLC, said, "It's time -- past time -- for bold action at both the state and federal levels. In no state do women enjoy satisfactory health status" (NWLC release, 12/11). To view an executive summary of the study, go to http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/2001ReportCardExecutivesummary.pdf. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the executive summary.