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

connection between Medicaid coverage and health outcomes. For example, future studies would be able to examine whether expanding Medicaid coverage before and between pregnancies leads to fewer complicated pregnancies and more healthy, full-term babies.

"About half a million babies are born prematurely in the United States every year," said March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse. "Some of these preterm births could be prevented with the appropriate care provided at the right time. Babies born premature are at risk for lifelong health problems and often require care in a hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This study gives us a critical baseline to help chart the progress of health reform as it affects maternal and child health."

Other key findings from the study:

  • The percentage of births paid for by Medicaid varied substantially among states. For example, just one quarter of births in Hawaii were financed by Medicaid compared to nearly 70 percent in Louisiana.

  • States in the northeastern and northwestern United States have the lowest proportion of births financed by Medicaid. For example, Massachusetts and New Hampshire reported fewer than 30 percent of births funded by Medicaid, and Washington State reported 39 percent.

  • Southern states tend to have the highest Medicaid coverage: For example, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico each reported 60 percent or more of all births financed by Medicaid in 2010.

Under the ACA, states have the option to expand Medicaid and provide coverage to all low-income women, including those who are not pregnant. Such women willin many cases for the first timebe able to access health care before a pregnancy starts and between pregnancies. Previous research suggests that such services could improve the health of mothers-to-be and lead to better health outcomes for babies.

The authors also note that bett
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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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