Women in progressive states healthier, less cancerous

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation,(not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente) just released a state-by-state review of women’s health services health providers are allowed to deny, including contraception, sterilization, and abortion. Albeit with incomplete data, Kaiser alleges that only 7 states have no restrictions on these women’s services.

Working with this data, and data from OpenSecrets.org on campaign contributions to Congress, I compiled a data table.

Findings:

Women are less likely to be uninsured than men.

There is no U.S. state where a higher percentage of women are uninsured. The general assumption attributes this to higher Medicare and government program eligibility among women; women are more likely to be below the poverty line, and thus qualify for these services. As of 2007, 56.6% of Medicare recipients nationwide were women. But in reality, there is a very weak correlation (.23) between women’s Medicare enrollment and uninsured rates.

The higher percentage of 2008 votes for Obama, the lower the state’s death rate from cervical cancer.

Here’s an example of how careful we should be with assumptions: I would love to assume by here that progressives cure cancer. But a better assumption is that women in liberal states are more likely to have access to healthcare and be encouraged to have regular cancer screenings. This graph shows each state represented as a blue dot, and the “best-fit line” showing what trend we can expect from the data– that the higher the votes for Obama, the lower the cervical cancer death rates, and vice versa.

The higher percentage of 2008 votes for Obama, the higher the state’s abortion rate.

Several assumptions, all unproven, could be made here. Women in more progressive states have higher access to abortions. Social taboos against abortion aren’t as present in blue states. (and so forth)

The higher percentage of 2008 votes for Obama, the higher wages women enjoy in comparison to men’s.

Predictably, higher rates of uninsured women are correlated to higher death rates from cervical cancer, and lower rates of breast cancer diagnosis.

Women who don’t get to the doctor have undiagnosed conditions, and are less likely to recover after the late diagnosis.

There’s a mild correlation indicating that states that voted for Obama in higher percentages enjoy lower rates of uninsured women.

There is no correlation between how many women receive mammograms and the amount of money a state’s Congressmembers received from the healthcare industry.

That is, states receiving more money from healthcare lobbying efforts don’t see the yield in better coverage for women.

There is no correlation between the percentage of 2008 votes for Obama and the amount of money that state’s congress members are receiving from the healthcare industry.

There is no correlation between the abortion rate and rate of uninsured women by state.

This implies that having access to insurance does not ensure access to abortion. Similarly, there’s no correlation between medicare enrollment and abortion rates. This reflects on the current dialogue about healthcare- the government is NOT funding abortions, especially not through Medicare.

I think in general, this shows how little positive impact the healthcare industry has on coverage and women’s health. Women in progressive states may enjoy more mammograms, fewer deaths from cervical cancer, and lower rates of uninsured, but the nationwide healthcare crisis can still strike women the hardest. Knowing that women are better-covered in more progressive states, what does this data say about the town hall responses to the Congressional health insurance reform plan?

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