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MEDICAID: How YOU are paying for all these births in the U.S.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 9th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Almost half of all births in the United States in 2010 were paid for by Medicaid - and these figures are set to only increase. Researchers from the George Washington University School of Public Health found that Medicaid was responsible for 48 percent of the 3.8 million births in 2010. This figure is an increase of 90,000 births from 2008, which was an eight percent increase during that period.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "As states expand coverage, low-income women of childbearing age will be able to obtain more continuous coverage before and between pregnancies," Lead investigator Anne Markus, an associate professor of health policy at the university says.

"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."

The analysis could help determine how successful Medicaid was in addressing the reduction of childbirth complications and the health of women and their babies: "This study gives us a window into the vital role Medicaid plays in maternal and child health," study co-author Cynthia Pellegrini, who is also senior vice president for public policy and government affairs at the March of Dimes says. "With these data in hand, we'll be able to accurately monitor the impact of Medicaid expansion and other factors on the births covered by state Medicaid programs."

In New York City in 2009, 76 percent of Hispanic births were covered by Medicaid, 70 percent of births in the black community were covered, and 31 percent of whites.

Medicaid coverage varied greatly state by state, ranging from a low of one-quarter of births in Hawaii to nearly 70 percent in Louisiana. The generally poorer southern states made greater use of Medicaid in covering births, compared to northeastern and northwestern states.

In contrast to Louisiana and other southern states, Medicaid in Massachusetts and New Hampshire covered 30 percent and 39 percent of births, respectively. In Arkansas and Mississippi, more than 60 percent of births were paid for by the federal program.

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