About half the births in the United States are paid for by Medicaid, and the numbers could increase as the state-federal health insurance program expands under the Affordable Care Act, reports Kaiser Health News.
"According to a study released Tuesday. pregnant women with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, just below $15,300 for an individual, are eligible for Medicaid, and many states provide coverage to women earning well above that amount.
While previous research estimated about 40 percent of the nearly 4 million annual births in the United States were paid for by Medicaid, the latest study by researchers at George Washington University and the March of Dimes looked at individual state data and estimated that in 2010 about 45 percent of births were covered by Medicaid. Researchers say they hope to use the figure as a baseline to determine the impact of the federal health law that expands Medicaid starting in January. Under the health law, about half the states are expanding Medicaid to cover everyone under 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
The percent of births paid for by Medicaid varied widely from a high of nearly 70 percent in Louisiana to below 30 percent in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the study found (see chart for individual state data). Read the story.