Medicaid expansion is just the latest battlefield in the Republicans’ ongoing war against women. Republican governors turning down health care funds are making a political statement, but in the process are hurting, not helping, the women their states.
In fact, the two states with the highest number of uninsured women — Florida, where 30.3 percent are uninsured, and Texas, where 26.2 percent are — have been most vocal in opposing the expansion. Here is why turning down the Medicaid expansion is a war on women:
— Women are far more than half of Medicaid recipients. In fact, they make up 68 percent of the programs participants. That’s because women tend to live longer and meet more of the eligibility guidelines (often because they have children):
— Women are more likely to be poor. The Center for American Progress reports, “of the approximately 15 million adults eligible for coverage under the Medicaid expansion, around 10 million of them — or two-thirds of the expanded Medicaid population — are nonelderly women.”
— Women tend to work in industries that don’t offer coverage. Industries that are heavily female include: domestic workers, wait staff, cashiers, and child care workers, all of which tend not to offer health coverage to employees, but which provide a large enough income that those women tend not to be eligible for Medicaid currently.
— Without the expansion, women won’t get prenatal care. The Medicaid expansion requires coverage of prenatal assistance for women up to nearly twice the federal poverty level, 133 percent. Without it, those women won’t be able to get coverage while they’re pregnant.
— Women will not have expanded access to preventative care. Currently, women without coverage don’t seek care that could save their lives, and their dollars, later on down the line. But women who are eligible for Medicaid tend to seek preventative treatment at about the same level as women on private insurance plans:
— Children get won’t healthy parents. Low-income children are already covered under CHIP, but that doesn’t mean their parents are. Eligibility is different for adults and kids. Indeed, twenty four percent of the uninsured are parents of dependent children. Since low-income women, particularly, tend to be single mothers, the expansion means more coverage for more moms whose kids rely on them.