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black babies get saved when you insure black mothers

April 30, 2019
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The healthcare system has been letting down Black mothers for decades and that disservice is only just getting the recognition it deserves. America’s “greatness” doesn’t extend to its healthcare system, resulting in a higher infant mortality rate than other developed countries. That would probably have to do with the Right’s incessant attempts at gutting healthcare and because of systemic racism, Black mothers and children are the ones who suffer. According to a study reported by Vox, an existing policy already exists that is helping to slowly alleviate the issue: Medicaid expansion.

The mortality rate for white children is 4.9 per 1,000 while Black children suffer an 11.4 per 1,000 mortality rate on top of being four times more likely to die from birth complications related to prematurity and low birth rate. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the low-income health insurance covering children, parents, pregnant women and disabled people. ACA offered federal funds to states to cover all low-income people so in states that accepted it to cover those who make under $15,000 per individual, immortality rates for Black children were shown to decrease.

Research already sh0ws that access to Medicaid leads to improvements with HIV, depression and overall happiness and now research from the National Center for Health Statistics Birth Data Files for 2011 to 2016 depict that African American babies in expansion states had significant improvements to their health compared to non-expansion states. The mortality rate for low birthweight Black children decreased by 4.5% in expansion states and increased by 1.9% in non-expansion states.

“We think what’s happening is not that non-expansion states are getting worse [when it comes to infant health outcomes] but that expansion states are breaking away from that trend,” said lead study author Clare Brown, a health policy instructor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “Our study clearly shows [expansion] benefitted the groups that were most vulnerable.” Medicaid expansion is a progressive political touch point because access benefits the marginalized and nothing is more beneficial to the Black community than healthy women and children.