May 22, 2019

Medicaid expansion improves health of moms and babies, study shows [Orlando Sentinel]

This post was last updated on September 10, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.
On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Naseem Miller of the Orlando Sentinel writes:

“Medicaid coverage, especially for minority and low-income women, plays a key role in improving the health of moms and babies, according to a new report.

By looking at the difference between women’s insurance coverage and the health outcomes of moms and babies, researchers at Georgetown University Center for Children and Families show that states, such as Florida, that have not expanded Medicaid have worse maternal and infant health outcomes compared with the states that have expanded Medicaid.

In a nationwide comparison, Florida ranked in the bottom quarter in maternal and infant mortality rates in 2018, according to America’s Health Rankings. Black moms and babies in Florida continue to be more than twice as likely to die in the first year after delivery, compared with white moms.

‘It seems like Florida’s women and children are our real victims,’ said Anne Swerlick, senior health policy analyst at the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], hoping that the report can serve as an impetus for policymakers to consider expanding Medicaid. “’If we’re going to be a family-friendly state, one of the key things we need to do is to support families.'”


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