New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today reveal that we still have much progress to make around providing health insurance to women and families and closing the wage gap, according to analysis by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The National Partnership’s analysis of the health insurance coverage data is available here and analysis of the gender wage gap and its effect on women’s spending power by race is available here. The gender wage gap has not improved since last year and women’s access to health insurance has stalled as well. The data show that 88.9 percent of adult women (ages 18-64) now have health insurance coverage versus 89.4 percent in 2017. This lack of progress is likely due in large part to the relentless sabotage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The data also reveal dismal news for women’s wages. In 2018, as in 2017, women who have full-time, year-round jobs are typically paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men who do.
Unfortunately, large and shameful disparities persist in access to health insurance. National Partnership analyses of the new data show that women of color are more likely to be uninsured. Nearly 20 percent of Latinas and 13.7 percent of Black women remain uninsured. Those rates compare to 8.9 percent of Asian women and 8 percent of white women who are now uninsured. These continuing disparities, coupled with losses driven by the Trump administration’s and Congress’s attacks on the ACA, have serious consequences for the health of women and families of color.
In addition, the lack of progress toward closing the gender wage gap especially harms women of color. Latinas, Native American and Black women continue to experience larger gender wage gaps than other women, and they have seen no progress at all since last year. Among those who work full time and year-round, Latinas are typically paid just 53 cents, Native American women 57 cents and Black women just 61 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. White women are typically paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. While Asian women are typically paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, the wage gap is much larger for certain ethnic subgroups of Asian women. These cents-on-the-dollar differences add up to thousands of dollars each year — money that could be used for health care costs, college tuition or child care.
“Members of Congress can and should take action to reduce disparities and advance — not reverse — progress. Lawmakers must strengthen the ACA instead of undermining it,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “Congress should also prioritize legislation that would help to close the gender wage gap such as the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help break harmful patterns of pay discrimination; the EMPOWER Act, to help address and eliminate workplace harassment; national standards for supportive workplace policies like a strong paid family and medical leave program, a national paid sick days standard, predictable schedules and protections against pregnancy discrimination; and measures to raise the minimum wage and eliminate the sub-minimum tipped wage. Making our country more healthy, fair and family friendly is possible, but the data released today confirm that we have a long way to go.”