Health of U.S. women still lags those in other rich countries

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By Maggie Fox

American women are still struggling to get good health care compared to women in other advanced nations, a new study finds.

U.S. women are sicker, spend more on medical bills, have to work harder to get good care and are far more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than women in other rich nations, the report out Wednesday from the Commonwealth Fund finds.

The only areas where the U.S. comes out ahead? Women are less likely to die of breast cancer here, and have better access to medical specialists.

But in most other measures, the U.S. falls short when compared to 10 other wealthy countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Britain.

The Commonwealth Fund’s Sara Collins, who helped write the report, said the aim was to see if the 2010 Affordable Care Act had made a difference for women’s health. “We wanted to take an assessment of where women are on healthcare and, particularly, insurance coverage,” Collins said.

And compared to 2009, when 16 percent of Americans had no health insurance, now just 8.8 percent of Americans go without a way to help pay medical bills.

“Women are indisputably in a better place than they were in 2009,” Collins told NBC News.