Dec 17, 2019

Study: Medicaid expansion helps improve infant mortality rates

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.

Go deeper

SpaceX capsule carrying astronauts docks with space station

The Crew Dragon just before docking on Sunday. Photo: NASA TV

SpaceX's Crew Dragon safely delivered two NASA astronauts — Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken — to the International Space Station on Sunday after the company's historic launch Saturday.

Why it matters: This marks the first time a private company has delivered people to the space station and it signals the beginning of the end of NASA's reliance on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft for flights to orbit.

Minnesota AG: Prosecution of officer in George Floyd case shouldn't be rushed

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison cautioned in an interview on "Fox News Sunday" that the case against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer involved in the death of George Floyd, is "very early in the process" and that charges could be amended or added.

Why it matters: Chauvin was arrested last week and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, which implies that he did not intend to kill Floyd. Some protestors have demanded more severe charges and Floyd's family has asked Ellison to serve as a special prosecutor in the case.

Robert O'Brien: "I don't think there's systemic racism" in law enforcement

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that he doesn't believe there is "systemic racism" among law enforcement in the U.S., arguing that there are "a few bad apples" that are giving police a bad name.

Why it matters: The mass protests that have swept across the United States are not just a response to the death of George Floyd, but of the dozens of high-profile instances of unarmed black men dying at the hands of police officers over the years.