Below: From organization titled "Healthy and Free Tennessee"
Tennessee is ranked #29 in the country and received a final grade of C- in the 2014 Women's Health Report Card 1 released last week by The Alliance for a Just Society.
The report card provides an important measure of the state's record on women's health as politicians court women voters ahead of the November elections and continue to debate whether Tennessee will accept federal funds to cover more uninsured adults under TennCare.
Currently, there are 159,000 uninsured women in Tennessee who could get health care coverage if politicians agreed to take up federal funding for Medicaid expansion, according to Healthy and Free Tennessee.
The 2014 Women's Health Report Card for Tennessee is available here.
Tennessee's final rank and grade were based on rankings and grades in three areas: health coverage for women, women's access to health care, and women's health outcomes. On coverage, Tennessee ranked #26 in the country, a grade of C. On access to health care, Tennessee ranked #22, a grade of C+. And on health outcomes, Tennessee ranked #44, a failing grade of F.
"This report card shows that Tennessee currently has a failing record on women's health outcomes. We're failing women and the families that depend on them, and we're especially failing women of color," said Rebecca Terrell, Chair of Healthy and Free Tennessee. "These grades should serve as an urgent call to action for Tennessee leaders. It's time to get past political gridlock and start improving women's health. The first step Governor Haslam should take is to move forward with expanding health coverage to uninsured women through TennCare."
"Expanding Medicaid is a critical opportunity for Tennessee to start catching up with the other states that have better records on women's health," said Terrell. "But if Governor Haslam and state lawmakers continue to drag their feet, we're only going to fall further behind other states. Women who are denied health care, and the families who depend on them, are paying the price."
Looking at women's health by race, the report card finds Tennessee is doing an even worse job meeting the needs of women of color, who are uninsured at higher rates and also face worse health outcomes than women overall, adding urgency to the debate over Medicaid expansion.
"It's time for politicians to put aside partisan bickering, start advocating for women, and take action to improve women's health by expanding Medicaid," said LeeAnn Hall, executive director of the Alliance for a Just Society, which produced the report card. "Our families, our communities, and our economy depend on women - women must be able to depend on Tennessee to deliver on the promise of quality, affordable health care."
The 2014 Women's Health Report Card uses the latest available data from government sources to rank Tennessee among the 50 states on 30 measures (and more than 50 individual data points) relating to women's health issues. It generates state rankings and grades, analyzes race-based disparities, and includes specific recommendations for state action to improve women's health.
Healthy and Free Tennessee