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Expanding Medicaid Will Benefit Both Low-Income Women and Their Babies

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For SC Appleseed and our partners in South Carolina, this is yet another example of how accepting the federal dollars for Medicaid support would not only help close gaps in the health coverage, but could be a critical game changer for countless low-income South Carolinians.

According to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priority, nearly 6 million women between the ages of 19-44 who do not have insurance could gain health coverage if all states expand their Medicaid programs in 2014 under health reform.

When women have health coverage before becoming pregnant as well as between pregnancies, they are healthier during pregnancy and their babies are more likely to be healthy at birth, research shows. Yet today, millions of low-income women do not have access to continuous health coverage. Instead, under current eligibility rules, many women become eligible for Medicaid only when they become pregnant, and then lose that coverage soon after giving birth.

The Medicaid expansion is therefore a vital opportunity for states to close gaps in the health coverage  of low-income women, many of whom can only gain coverage when they are pregnant under current  eligibility rules. Ensuring continuous coverage would improve the health of women and their babies,  which would lower Medicaid costs related to delivery and postnatal care. Read the full report here.