Is state medicaid expansion associated with changes in low birth weight, preterm births?

April 23, 2019

Bottom Line: This observational study examined whether state Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act was associated with changes in low birth weight and preterm birth both overall and by race/ethnicity. Using data on 15.6 million births from 2011-2016, researchers report state Medicaid expansion wasn't associated with differences in rates of low birth weight or preterm birth overall but was associated with greater reductions in rates of low birth weight and preterm birth outcomes among black infants in expansion states compared to white infants but no change in disparities among Hispanic infants. Data came from 18 states that expanded Medicaid and 17 states that didn't. The database used for this study may have missing data or lack information on maternal factors potentially related to birth outcomes. Also, it may take time for the benefits of health care coverage under the Medicaid expansion to improve maternal health and access to care.

Authors: J. Mick Tilford, Ph.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, and coauthors

(doi:10.1001/jama.2019.3678)

Editor's Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
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JAMA

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