The number of U.S. births covered by Medicaid has almost reached 50 percent, according to an analysis of federal health data reported by Medical Daily.
The report showed that 48 percent of the 3.8 million births in 2010 were paid for by Medicaid, the government health program that helps pay medical bills for the poor. That number was up from 40 percent two years earlier.
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"As states expand coverage, low-income women of childbearing age will be able to obtain more continuous coverage before and between pregnancies," said lead investigator Anne Markus of George Washington University School of Public Health.
Markus and her team said the study would help in determining the changes being brought about through the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
"Now, for the first time, researchers will have a comprehensive baseline that will help them determine how increased access to services might change pregnancies and ultimately birth outcomes," Markus said.
Hawaii had the lowest percentage of births paid for by Medicaid, about 25 percent. Louisiana had the highest, at 70 percent. Most of the poorer Southern states had higher rates compared to northeastern states.
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