Too often women are forced to choose between getting a mammogram and paying rent, birth control or groceries, taking their child to the doctor or making a car payment. Reproductive justice demands that all people have the economic means, social capital, and political power to make and exercise decisions about their own health, family, and future. Reproductive justice means no woman is forced to make such impossible decisions. Unfortunately, that is not the reality for the millions of Latinas that lack health insurance coverage. Many of these women make too little to qualify for assistance purchasing health insurance in the state marketplace but do not qualify for Medicaid, so they are left without coverage. The solution is simple: states need to expand Medicaid. Read more »
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Medicaid, NWLC released a report today on Medicaid’s contributions to women’s economic security. The report examines Medicaid’s economic impact on women through a variety of ways, including covering birth control, protecting women and their families from catastrophic health care costs, and covering long-term care expenses. It also analyzes how Medicaid directly promotes women’s economic security by supporting jobs.
4 Million Jobs
Medicaid is known mostly for providing important health coverage to low-income individuals and families. Yet, what is often overlooked is Medicaid’s critical impact on job creation. Medicaid creates jobs by injecting money into state economies. For example, Medicaid pays providers – like hospitals, clinics and home health agencies – to deliver health care services. Providers then use these payments to hire and compensate their workers. This is especially important for women, as many health sector jobs, such as nurses and home health aides, are predominantly filled by women. Read more »
The first time I ever really thought about abortion was in high school. In my 10th grade American history class, I learned about the Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark decision Roe v. Wade. My teacher explained how the ruling granted women the right to privacy and agency over their own bodies. Included in these rights was abortion. For a moment, I believed that the fight was won. I believed that since the Roe decision, all women have been free to make their own reproductive health care decisions.
However, that moment was brief. Soon I realized there was much more work to be done. I learned that just three years after Roe, Henry Hyde introduced the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment unjustly prohibits federal coverage of abortion care, unless in the case of rape, incest, or if the woman’s life is in danger. The amendment was created to stop women from getting abortions. Yes, you read that right. Henry Hyde himself clearly declared that this was the goal of the Hyde Amendment: “I would certainly like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion: a rich woman, a middle class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the…Medicaid bill.”
After nearly 40 years of the Hyde restrictions on abortion, as part of the All Above All coalition we are saying, “Enough is enough.” It is time to take action, and time to repeal Hyde. Read more »
When I, someone born in 1990, think of the worst things about the 1970s, I think of disco music, platform shoes, and bellbottom jeans (which somehow made a comeback during my childhood). However, while I question the fashion choices made during that decade (sorry Mom and Dad), the worst thing about the 1970s is the Hyde Amendment, which is still going strong. Fortunately, today, some members of Congress took the much-needed step towards getting rid of the Hyde Amendment.
In a 5-4 ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court decided that health care providers cannot sue state Medicaid programs to enforce federal Medicaid law. In Armstrong v. Exceptional Child, Medicaid providers for individuals with developmental disabilities had sued Idaho over payment rates that, they argued, violated requirements in the Medicaid statute that require states to pay participating providers rates that ensure patients’ access to services. Read more »
Earlier this week, the House released a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY2016) which would leave millions of women and their families without the financial security of high quality health insurance, unable to access the health care services they need, and facing dramatic increases in their healthcare costs. To learn more about the details of House budget proposal, our analysis is available here.
Late yesterday, the Senate released their counterpart [PDF] to the House budget. The strategy is the same: repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicare and Medicaid. The results would be the same, too: millions of women left without access to affordable health coverage and the care they need.
Each week, my colleague Stephanie Glover and I take a short trip to Arlington to volunteer as Certified Application Counselors (CACs). We talk to Virginians about the health coverage options available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and help them enroll in an affordable comprehensive insurance plan. It is very exciting to meet new clients each week—all of whom are uninsured—who are eager to learn about their options and obtain coverage.
The best part of the experience is enrolling a previously uninsured family into health insurance that meets their needs and fits their budget. Clients leave the office happy and incredibly thankful to the volunteers. The worst part of this experience is telling clients that, unfortunately, they are not eligible to enroll today. I try to explain they are not eligible to enroll in a private plan because their income is below the poverty level which means they do not qualify for federal subsidies and yet they earn too much income (or fail to meet other eligibility criteria) to qualify for Virginia’s current Medicaid program.
Because Virginia is one of 26 states that have not taken federal funding to cover more people in Medicaid, hundreds of thousands of residents fall into this “coverage gap.” Most clients are confused and do not understand why they cannot enroll—they have all of their tax paperwork and other documentation with them, and are ready to complete the process. They leave the office frustrated and disappointed. Some ask what they should do in the meantime. Others say they will check with the Medicaid office in the summer to see if anything has changed. Read more »
Did you know that in the last 12 months nearly 60 percent of low-income uninsured women went without needed care because of cost? Or that in 2012 only 46 percent of low-income uninsured women received their recommended mammograms? What if we told you that states could take action to solve this problem today? And the federal government would start out paying for the full cost of this policy, and ultimately cover 90 percent of the bill?
You might be surprised, but this option is immediately available to all states. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states may expand coverage through their Medicaid programs, providing health insurance to millions of low-income Americans. Yet twenty-five states have not done this, leaving over three million women in a coverage gap. This gap results from states’ failure to expand coverage and applies to individuals with incomes below the poverty level (approximately $11,500 for an individual) who do not qualify for traditional Medicaid. Women with income above poverty are eligible for subsidies for private health insurance available through their state Marketplace.
A new report from the National Women’s Law Center illustrates the risk the coverage gap poses to low-income women’s health. More specifically, the report shows that women in the coverage gap also experience a health care gap. In general, low-income women without health insurance are significantly less likely to access basic health care services on a regular basis and are less likely to use important preventive services than women who have similarly low incomes but who are covered by public or private health insurance. Read more »
The U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t do snow days, apparently. While much of D.C. hunkered down Tuesday for our latest winter storm, the Court went on as usual, hearing oral arguments in a case that could upset years of established labor law. It could leave low-wage workers, overwhelmingly women, who provide home health care services under Illinois’ Medicaid program—and potentially other public employees—without a voice at the negotiating table. Knowing how high the stakes are, I ventured out to listen.
The case, Harris v. Quinn, addresses key questions about the unionizing of in-home care providers paid by the state of Illinois through two Medicaid programs. Here is a boiled-down version of the main issues: First, if a majority of care providers vote in favor of an exclusive bargaining representative (a union), can the state recognize and negotiate with that union? Second, can the providers who voted against unionization be required to pay a “fair share fee,” a payment that goes to cover the administrative costs of bargaining the contract that also benefits them? Read more »
Approximately 238,000 uninsured Arizonans will now have access to health care coverage in the coming months, thanks to the state legislature's passing of Governor Jan Brewer's expansion proposal.
Over two hundred thousand. That's a lot of people.
The legislature made the right decision yesterday, and now hundreds of thousands of hard-working, low-income women and families will have access to health care because of it. Not only will these residents have access to health coverage that includes preventive care, chronic disease treatment and other essential health services, but they also benefit from an increased sense of economic security and knowing that they will not be subjected to financial ruin in the case of a medical emergency. Read more »