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The period leading up to pregnancy is critical to the health of a woman and her child, but not all women have access to health insurance during this period. New research shows that the expansion of Medicaid for many states under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) before conception has positively impacted a variety of indicators of maternal health.
The study, in the journal Health Affairs, was conducted by Laura R. Wherry, Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Service at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, Rebecca Meyerson of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Samuel Crawford from the University of Southern California at Los Angeles compared changes in 10 key health indicators for low-income women in expanding and non-expanding countries after the ACA Medicaid expansions.
The researchers found significant improvements in three preconceived health indicators related to the Medicaid extensions:
- Increasing preconceived health counseling that provides a valuable opportunity to address key risk factors associated with adverse health outcomes for the mother and child prior to conception.
- Increasing the daily intake of folic acid before pregnancy, recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force for all women, to reduce the likelihood of neural tube defects in newborns.
- Increased use of effective birth control methods after childbirth, which can reduce the likelihood of unplanned pregnancies or short pregnancy intervals.
They found no evidence of changes in the prevalence of chronic diseases or health behavior.
As of October 2020 – ten years after the ACA was passed – a total of 36 states and the District of Columbia have implemented the expansion of the Medicaid expansion program and access to health care for the poor.
“We hope these findings can help address some of the risk factors affecting maternal and child health in the United States,” said Professor Wherry.
Medicaid’s expansion improved insurance stability for low-income pregnant women. Provided by New York University
Quote: ACA’s expansion of Medicaid to improve maternal health (2020, November 2) was announced on November 2, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-11-aca-expansion-medicaid-maternal-health .html retrieved
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