WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Almost one in five women of reproductive age (18-44) in Georgia lack health insurance, and almost half (45.9 percent) of women who identify as Latina are uninsured, according to a new report released today from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF). The report examines the current state of women’s health in Georgia across several indicators including health coverage access, and maternal and infant health and care — and raises alarm about the state’s trajectory when it comes to health outcomes for Georgia mothers and babies. Georgia is one of only 12 states that has not expanded Medicaid.
Key findings from the report include:
- Almost one in five women (19.3 percent) in Georgia of reproductive age (18-44) has no health insurance. This is one of the highest rates in the country (Georgia ranks 46th) and, even more notably, one of the highest rates in the deep South — where only Mississippi has a slight edge.
- Almost half (45.9 percent) of women in Georgia who are of reproductive age and identify as Hispanic or Latina are uninsured. The uninsured rate is also very high for American Indian/Alaska Native (35.9 percent) and multi-racial/other (38.0 percent) women.
- As is the case nationwide, Georgia has much higher rates of maternal and infant mortality for Black women and babies than for white women and babies in the state.
- Some of Georgia’s maternal health outcomes are far below the national median. The state ranks poorly on quality measures such as access to postpartum care and timeliness of prenatal care, and has a high percentage of babies with low birth weight.
“This report not only paints a bleak picture of existing health coverage gaps for all women of reproductive age in Georgia, but also shows how the state’s poor performance on maternal and infant health issues could lead to widening disparities in health,” said Joan Alker, Executive Director, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. “The state’s decision not to expand Medicaid continues to put the health of its mothers at risk and undermines the opportunity for Georgia’s children to get a healthy start in life.”
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The report also assessed the performance of Georgia on maternal and infant health measures such as the timeliness of prenatal care and postpartum care. Using data from women who were able to access Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as a parent or while pregnant, the findings showed Georgia ranked at or near the bottom quarter of all states that report on these measures.
“Georgia needs to protect the health of women and babies – and the obvious first step to do that is to expand Medicaid, which would improve maternal health for women of reproductive age and in particular women of color, and benefit their children,” stated Leo Cuello, co-author of the report and a research professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. “Latina women are nearly three times more likely to be uninsured than other Georgia women of reproductive age, so Medicaid expansion is especially important to the Latino community.”
For more information about the report, visit: https://bit.ly/3bCvjje
Source: Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families