Study: Medicaid Pays for Almost Half of All Births in the U.S.

In 2010, Medicaid paid for almost half of all births in the U.S., according to a study published September 10 in Women’s Health Issues, and the percentage will increase as Medicaid coverage expands under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148).

Estimates pulled from state vital records and Medicaid data showed that Medicaid paid for 47.75 percent of all births in 2010. The study noted that estimates of Medicaid spending on births showed a 9 percent increase from 2009 to 2010 in the proportion of births paid for by Medicaid, and a 19 percent increase from 2008, when Medicaid paid for 40 percent of births, to 2010.

State Variance

The percentage of births paid for by Medicaid varied widely by state; only 24 percent of births in Hawaii were covered by Medicaid, while Medicaid paid for 70 percent of births in Louisiana. Also, the trends for Medicaid spending on births vary widely by state. For example, the number of births paid for by Medicaid dropped over 50 percent in Maryland from 2008 to 2010, but increased over 20 percent in West Virginia, Utah, Maine and Kansas.

The study also noted that Medicaid paid for more than half of all hospital stays for preterm and low birth weight babies, and about 45 percent of all infant hospital stays relating to birth defects.