Dec 17, 2019

Study: Medicaid expansion helps improve infant mortality rates

A newborn baby in the intensive care unit
A newborn baby in the intensive care unit. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images

Medicaid expansion and other social services help improve infant mortality rates, according to a new report from the liberal Center for American Progress.

Why it matters: The U.S. is ranked 55th in the world on infant mortality — alongside Serbia.

Yes, but: Medicaid expansion is not a cure-all. For example, Washington, D.C., which implemented Medicaid expansion in 2014, saw more than double the overall national infant mortality rate.

Lawmakers in several states are undertaking new programs to help reduce infant mortality.

  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced in December the state will undergo a $22 million budget proposal to help new mothers by 2025.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed four bills this year aimed at helping the state's maternal and infant health.
  • A bipartisan bill in Congress would offer states an incentive to extend their Medicaid coverage to a full year after delivery.

The bottom line: "At this point, the data is really hard to argue with," Cristina Novoa, senior policy analyst for early childhood policy at the Center for American Progress, tells Axios.

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