NC Budget and Tax Center, public health

On Mother’s Day: Remember Medicaid works for women – but proposed cuts would have a harsh, disproportionate impact

This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day. Next week we celebrate National Women’s Health Week. The fact is women play an important role in society every day and one thing we can always do for them is support them in having adequate health care. Currently, more than 40 million women and girls are enrolled in Medicaid. However, proposals in Congress to cap and cut Medicaid would have devastating consequences for the nearly 1.1 million women in North Carolina who rely on the program.

This is worrisome considering that Medicaid allows women to obtain the health care they need throughout their lives. According to a recent report, “women have unique health care needs — and nearly half of all women have an ongoing condition requiring regular monitoring, care, or medication.”

By the numbers: North Carolina Women and Medicaid

1.1 million: number of women in NC enrolled in Medicaid

54%: share of women in NC enrolled in Medicaid

898,200: number of women and girls in NC that live below the poverty line

17%: share of women and girls in NC that live below the poverty line (worse than U.S average of 16%)

54%: share of births in NC financed by Medicaid

The race and ethnicity of NC women in Medicaid

White: 44%

African-American: 35%

Hispanic: 14%

Asian/Pacific Islander: 1%

Other: 5%

Overall, women would bear an outsized share of harmful Medicaid cuts because they not only make up a majority (54 percent) of North Carolina’s Medicaid beneficiaries, but are also the primary users of maternity benefits and specific health care services for women. They are much more likely to use Medicaid’s long-term services.

North Carolina hurts when women and girls cannot access the health care that they need to lead healthy, full lives.

Current health bill proposals have disproportionate impact on women

The House-passed health bill also includes several provisions that are especially harmful to women with private insurance.

For example, it would allow states to opt out of the ACA’s Essential Health Benefits (EHB) standard, effectively allowing insurers to charge women more than men by leaving many women without affordable access — or any access — to maternity coverage.

Additionally, it also would give states the option of allowing insurers to charge far higher premiums to people who are pregnant, have had a c-section, or were treated for injuries resulting from domestic violence.

Learn more: To get a better understanding of Medicaid and its impact in North Carolina you can view various graphs in our NC Medicaid Chartbook or read our series, Medicaid Matters: Protect and Expand NC Health Care.

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