Expanding Medicaid led to decreased postpartum hospitalizations

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — According to health care experts, the benefits for brand-new parents and their infants having access to health care during pregnancy as well as during the postpartum period are indisputable. Even so, many patients — including a third of women with pregnancy coverage through Medicaid — are uninsured before or after pregnancy.
To better understand how access to health care and insurance impacts postpartum health, a new study examined postpartum hospitalizations in states that had expanded Medicaid as well as those that had not.
In the study published in January in Health Affairs, researchers found a 17% reduction in hospitalizations during the first 60 days postpartum in states that expanded Medicaid — and, looking further out, some evidence of a smaller decrease in hospitalizations between 61 days and six months postpartum.
Since hospitalizations are evidence of health issues that exacerbate to the point of requiring an inpatient hospital stay, the results provide evidence that Medicaid expansion is beneficial for the health of those who have just given birth, said study co-author Maria Steenland, an assistant professor of health services, policy and practice (research) at Brown University. KEEP READING