Lost Ground on Health Coverage, Stagnant Gender Wage Gap Compound Racial and Gender Disparities

New data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed a gender wage gap that has not budged since last year. Women overall working full time, year-round are still paid just 82 cents for every dollar paid to men.* The National Partnership for Women & Families’ analysis of the data shows that the wage gap remains widest for women of color. Census data also show rising uninsured rates, from 7.9 percent in 2017 to 8.5 percent in 2018.

“What we are seeing in the data released today is the result of policy inaction, historic and systemic discrimination, and the Trump administration’s relentless sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and aggressive undermining of policies that would reduce economic inequality,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “Women cannot support themselves and their families without fair pay; they cannot thrive or achieve economic security without access to quality, affordable health care.”

Repeated attacks on the ACA, decimation of ACA outreach and enrollment efforts, undermining Medicaid eligibility and potential changes in the public charge rule all contribute to the rising rate of uninsured, a disproportionate number of whom are women of color.

In addition to representing a disproportionate number of uninsured, women of color are also most harmed by the persistent gender wage gap. Latinas are paid 54 cents, Native American women 58 cents, Black women 62 cents and white women 79 cents, and Asian American women are paid 90 cents to every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, though the wage gap is even larger for Asian American women of many ethnic and national backgrounds. These cents-on-the-dollar gaps add up to thousands of dollars each year that could be spent on necessities like food, rent or health care.

“The news today is sobering for women and families in America and underscores why we must fight for policies that improve access to affordable, quality health care and ensure women are paid fairly,” said Ness. “This means fighting against the Trump administration’s attempts to undermine health care; urging the Senate to take action on the Paycheck Fairness Act and Raise the Wage Act; passing legislation to address and end workplace harassment and pregnancy discrimination; and enacting national paid family and medical leave and paid sick days laws. Women and their families cannot continue to endure year after year of stalled or reversing progress. We need leaders who will work toward equality, not pursue policies that worsen existing disparities.”

*The Census Bureau recently began using a new method to estimate the income of individuals with partial missing data in the CPS ASEC survey, which was used for revised 2017 income data as well as today's release. Under the updated method, in 2017 women working full time, year-round were paid just 81.7 cents for every dollar paid to a man working full-time, year round. This is not a statistically significant change from the previously reported estimate of 80.5 cents.

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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