California women of color need universal health care

Women of color in California experience some of the most severe socioeconomic inequities, especially when it comes to health care. Implementing universal coverage, according to a UC Davis student, would aid in reducing the inequities that result in more infant and pregnancy-related fatalities.

Racial and economic disparity in California must be addressed through the implementation of policies that improve the material conditions of those groups in our society that face the greatest suffering. Providing universal health care is one of those approaches, and women of color are one of that group.

Women of color’s experiences are significantly racially impacted by the institutional legacies of American slavery, Jim Crow, and discriminatory social policies that deny them access to benefits and imprison them. higher rates.

Other distinctions exist in healthcare that are detrimental to women of race. For instance, infant mortality rates are greater among African-American women across all educational levels. Maternal mortality rates are highest among low-income, minority women, and they are rising concurrently with the number of American pregnancy-related deaths each year.

Health inequalities based on race and gender demand inventive, calculated steps to improve women’s socioeconomic standing relative to men. 50% of births in the US are covered by Medicare, which only provides coverage to those 65 and older and can be increased at the state level to ensure that all newborns in California are protected by health insurance.

Californians need a single-payer, universal healthcare system like “Medicare for All,” for example.

Countries with universal health coverage, like Canada and Great Britain, have maternal mortality rates that are far lower than those in the United States, at 6.5 and 8.6 deaths per 100,000 people and 17.4 respectively. If Californians had universal health coverage, expectant mothers and newborns would have access to free prenatal and postpartum care, which would help improve overall health.

Given that a sizable share of maternal mortality occurs in the postpartum period, the Medicare-for-all system might include incentives to train and license midwives as well as home visit programs, two evidence-backed techniques to improve outcomes for the pregnant woman and the infant. Home visits are essential to evaluate social determinants of health for families, such as housing and food access, and to provide new parents with mental health care.

Weekly columns by Dan Walters provide an overview of Californian events.

Although insurance policies cover contraceptives and prohibit gender-based premium discrimination, Medicare for All builds on the expansion of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid to provide high-quality care to all people, regardless of their financial situation. This is true even though the Affordable Care Act reduced health disparities between men and women by While insurance policies cover contraceptives and forbid gender-based premium discrimination.

A public option, similar to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to ensure federal universal coverage, might be the best place for California to start. The number of uninsured people would decrease under the Warren Plan because those over 50 may choose Medicare while children and families income less than 200% of the federal poverty threshold would be automatically enrolled in the public option with no premiums or cost sharing.

To build on Warren’s concept of a public option, a public plan with mandatory employer contributions, significant premium discounts (capped at 5% of income), and copay reductions (limited at 10%) might be available for people having job-based insurance. The public option would pay for things like prescription drugs, dentistry, and vision care and offer suppliers more money to promote participation. It would also give them more negotiation power with pharmaceutical companies.

Because there would be fewer providers and administrative expenses, universal Medicare would ultimately be less expensive than commercial insurance. The transition plan put forth by Warren calls for the elimination of premiums and cost-sharing after five years. This would create a single-payer healthcare system at the state level, similar to Bernie Sanders’ proposal, and be funded by wealth, capital gains, and income taxes levied against the richest Californians and Silicon Valley companies. The state’s health insurance program would take the role of private health insurance policies, which have gradually risen employee costs while offering less benefits.

Single-payer health insurance would eliminate health inequities for pregnant women, increase competition, expand access to healthcare for underserved populations, lower costs and prescription drug costs.

Most importantly, it would contribute to reducing the inequities in healthcare access that low-income women of color encounter. Since everyone would be covered by Medicare, California’s racial and socioeconomic disparities would be significantly reduced.

This essay was derived from Indira D’Souza’s winning entry in the 2023 UC Davis Center for Poverty and Inequality Research Black History Month Student Essay Contest.

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