Benefits of Medicaid Expansion for Mothers and Infants

Around half of the uninsured who could be covered under Medicaid expansion are women and 15% are parents. Research has documented significant improvements in pregnancy outcomes for women and infants due to Medicaid expansion. Even though children up to 215% of poverty are eligible for Medicaid in South Carolina and expansion does not directly impact children, research shows that children are more likely to be insured and receive preventive care when their parent(s) also have coverage and can take care of their own health.

SC’s Infant Healthcare Challenges

  • Infant Mortality: 5th worst in country
  • Incidence of Low Birthweight and Pre-term: Delivery is 5th worst among states

Impact if SC Expanded

  • States that expanded Medicaid significantly narrowed the disparity between black and white mothers in incidence of low birth weight and pre-term births, compared to states that did not.
  • Pregnancy related hypertension is associated with poor maternal and child health outcomes. Diagnosis of hypertension due to pregnancy increased and incidence of low birthweight infants decreased significantly in expansion states vs. non-expansion states.

Maternal Deaths

  • SC is 8th worst in US. Maternal death rate for black SC residents is 2.5x higher than that for white residents. The US rate that is 3x higher than most developed countries.

Impact if SC Expanded

“Because the United States is the only wealthy country that does not guarantee health coverage, many patients come into pregnancy with chronic medical conditions that have not been diagnosed or managed before pregnancy, including hypertension, diabetes and heart conditions. Among the leading causes of pregnancy related deaths from 2017-2019 ere cardiovascular conditions.”

- Louisiana Medical Director of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee

Child Health

  • SC still has a large number of uninsured children. Despite covering children up to 215% of poverty under Medicaid, SC still has 54,000 of children under 18 who are uninsured.

Impact if SC Expanded

Unequal Pay

  • Low paid and uninsured workers in child care and elementary and secondary education making it hard to attract a high quality and stable work force. 

Impact if SC Expanded

  • Child care workers and those working in schools make up a significant portion of working people who benefit by gaining insurance coverage with Medicaid expansion, making child care and education more attractive and stable occupations.