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Medicaid pays for nearly half of all births in the United States
Date:9/10/2013

WASHINGTON, DCMedicaid paid for 45 percent of the 4 million births in the United States in 2010, an amount that has been rising over time, according to a report out today. The study, published in the September 2013 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Women's Health Issues, offers the most comprehensive information to date on Medicaid financing of births in each of the 50 states and nationally.

The new data will help researchers gauge the impact of health reform on maternal and child health, the authors say. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), some states are expanding Medicaid and the expansion may lead to improved coverage of well-woman and maternity careand perhaps result in better health outcomes, said lead author of the study Anne Markus, JD, PhD, MHS, an associate professor of health policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS).

"As states expand coverage, low-income women of childbearing age will be able to obtain more continuous coverage before and between pregnancies," said Markus. "Now, for the first time, researchers will have a comprehensive baseline that will help them determine how increased access to services might change pregnancies and ultimately birth outcomes."

Previously, data on Medicaid funding of births did not exist in a comprehensive form. Markus and a team that included researchers from the March of Dimes set out to change that by collecting all such data on Medicaid births from individual states from 2008 to 2010.

They discovered that in 2010 Medicaid paid for 45 percent of all births in the United States, up from 43 percent of Medicaid covered births in 2008. That represents a 4 percent increase in the proportion of all births financed by Medicaid in just two years.

The hope is that researchers will be able to use such data to determine whether rates of Medicaid financing of births change in the coming years and whether there is a
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Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
kfackelmann@gwu.edu
202-994-8354
George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services
Source:Eurekalert

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