As the country grapples with increasing rates of maternal mortality, a new study from the Georgetown University Center of Health Policy found that one of the biggest things a state can do for the health of new mothers and babies is to expand Medicaid.
…Fourteen states have not expanded Medicaid, and the result can be deadly: States that expanded Medicaid saw a reduction in infant mortality — from 5.9 to 5.6 deaths per 100,000, while the rate slightly rose in nonexpansion states — from 6.4 to 6.5 deaths per 100,000.
…Medicaid expansion was also found to decrease maternal mortality. According to the study, Medicaid expansion led to 1.6 fewer deaths per 100,000 women [Mattie Quinn, “Report: Babies Are More Likely to Die in States That DIdn’t Expand Medicaid,” Governing, 2019.05.22].
Go ahead, Kristi. Spin all you want. Tell us how the study is flawed, how science is wrong, how Medicaid expansion doesn’t really save lives. Lay out your evidence for refusing to adopt a policy that looks like it can do more to save babies and mothers than any of your vaunted anti-abortion bills.
Those of you making excuses for Kristi’s hypocrisy, read the study first. The Georgetown researchers aren’t just showing correlation—gee whiz, states refused to expand Medicaid, and more kids and moms died, ain’t that a coinkydink? They are saying Medicaid expansion makes women healthier by improving their access to health care, not just while they are pregnant but before they get pregnant. Those healthier women who get pregnant then have better chances of healthy pregnancies, of surviving childbirth themselves, and of delivering healthier babies.
Reviews of state data estimate the majority of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. Expanding access to health coverage is a key strategy for addressing this problem. A growing body of research demonstrates the ACA and implementation of state Medicaid expansions have had positive effects on the health of mothers and their infants. Recent studies show that state Medicaid expansions have helped to reduce the rates of both maternal deaths and infant mortality. Women are getting better health coverage before pregnancy, leading to improved prenatal nutrition and prenatal care. And postpartum coverage has improved for women, helping them get the care they need following the birth of their child. States that have expanded Medicaid also have decreased the likelihood that eligibility for coverage will fluctuate, resulting in losing and regaining coverage over a relatively short span of time, a phenomenon known as “churning.” Breaks in health coverage can disrupt care and cause existing health conditions to become more serious and more difficult and expensive to treat [Adam Searing and Donna Cohen Ross, “Medicaid Expansion Fills Gaps in Maternal Health Coverage Leading to Healthier Mothers and Babies,” Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, May 2019].
Medicaid expansion has effects far beyond pregnancy that show that being “pro-life” must necessarily be about big-picture, life-spanning policies, not just feel-good campaign slogans and abstract debates about how many angels can dance on the head of an embryo. Medicaid expansion helps women get depression screening and treatment so they can form better relationships that boost their babies’ health. Medicaid expansion helps more women quit smoking, which protects their kids from asthma, ear infections, and tooth decay.
Cause: Medicaid expansion. Effect: more healthy, living women and babies is the effect.
If you claim to be “pro-life,” you don’t need to hear one more word to vote to expand Medicaid. I just can’t figure out why “pro-life” Kristi Noem can’t hear those words.