When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, millions of birthing people were no longer guaranteed the right to abortion. With this development around abortion access, it is important to understand the relationship between reproductive and maternal* healthcare and Medicaid.
Reproductive/Maternal Health & Medicaid
Medicaid is important in this post Roe era because of the access to reproductive health services it provides to millions of people across the US such as birth control, STD testing and treatment, and annual exams. These services are vital to communities hit hard by the loss of access to abortions and expansion in states where birthing people’s health rights continue to be at stake would offer significant support and relief.
Medicaid is also a “critical source of health insurance coverage for maternity care” especially for low-income people of color. In 2019, the program covered approximately 42% of all births nationwide.
For people who are pregnant, enrollment in Medicaid means they can receive prenatal care, labor, and delivery services. These services typically end 60 days after birth, however, in states who have expanded Medicaid these services are available to people up to 1 year extending access to services such as breastfeeding and lactation consultation, doula services, and counseling.
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Medicaid Gap & the Need for Expansion
More than 2 million adults fall in the “Medicaid gap” meaning they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid services, but not enough to purchase their own insurance through other companies. This is why Medicaid expansion is critical right now.
In North Carolina ,the state recently expanded postpartum coverage to 12 months after birth. This is telling because although North Carolina has not officially expanded Medicaid, the state recognizes the need for extended coverage with successful implementation.
The threats to the reproductive rights of birthing people continue to be uncertain, but if North Carolina and other states were to expand Medicaid many more people and low-income people of color would benefit tremendously.
For more resources on abortion and Medicaid follow the links below*:
*A note on references: While we and our sources reference maternal health, we recognize that that pregnancy/birth/broad reproductive health services apply to transgender men and non-binary people as well.