A new report from by analyst Laila Bell at the group Action for Children NC entitled “Healthy Women, Healthy Babies,” puts the decision of the Governor and General Assembly not to expand Medicaid into pretty sharp relief. Its common sense conclusion: expanding Medicaid to cover hundreds of thousands of low-income North Carolinians as is made possible by the Affordable Care Act would, literally, save the lives of a lot of infants born to poor moms.
Here are the key findings:
- Healthy infancy and childhood begin with healthy mothers; women’s health before, during and between pregnancies is a strong predictor of the survival and long?term health of their newborns.
- Maternal risk factors associated with infant mortality can be prevented or effectively managed with appropriate preventive care.
- In 2010, North Carolina’s infant mortality rate hit a record low, but has since increased by 6 percent over the past two years. Most of the increase occurred among African American babies.
- North Carolina has the opportunity to counteract rising infant mortality rates and reduce racial disparities in birth outcomes through Medicaid expansion. Under the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians—including 178,000 low-income women of childbearing age—would gain access to health insurance coverage.
Read the entire report by clicking here.