US Women Dying in Childbirth but Spending More on Healthcare, Under Stress, Report Finds

Mary Caffrey

As obstetricians and women’s health advocates celebrate a new law that will try to explain the rising numbers of US women dying in childbirth, a recent report from the Commonwealth Fund shows that health problems for the nation’s women start well before pregnancy.

The report, “What is the Status of Women’s Health and Health Care in the US Compared to Ten Other Countries?” asks that question and finds grim answers when evaluating women’s health status alongside that of women in other wealthy nations, including the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, and Australia.

In general, women in the United States spent more out of pocket and get less for it, put off care, and worry so much that stress levels are the highest among the countries studied. US women also have more chronic conditions, which could explain why pregnancy proves so difficult.
The study found: “When it comes to affordable health insurance and healthcare, US women stand out from other countries as uniquely disadvantaged,” Sara Collins, study co-author and president for Healthcare Coverage and Access at the Commonwealth Fund, said in a statement.

“They are more likely than women in most wealthy countries to face high out-of-pocket costs to report problems paying medical bills. To do better for women, state and federal policy makers could expand Medicaid in states that haven’t yet done so. They could also maintain the Affordable Care Act’s comprehensive benefit requirements, including maternity coverage and free preventive care, and improve the cost protection that private plans provide.”

Gunja MZ, Tikkanen R, Seervai S, Collins SR. What is the status of women’s health and healthcare in the US compared to 10 other countries? Published online December 19, 2018. The Commonwealth Fund.

Print | AJMC Printing...