Studies find Oregon’s Medicaid expansion improved prenatal care access, birth outcomes
By Molly Rosbach | Jan. 4, 2021
CORVALLIS, Ore. — A pair of recent studies from Oregon State University found that Oregon’s Medicaid expansion in 2014 has led to increased prenatal care among low-income women, as well as improved health outcomes for newborn babies.
In the three years after the expansion, one study found that Oregon saw an almost 2 percentage point increase in first trimester prenatal care utilization, relative to 18% of the pre-expansion population who lacked any access to prenatal care in the earlier stages of pregnancy.
In the same period, the second study found, Medicaid expansion was associated with a 29% reduction in low birthweight among babies born to women on Medicaid, as well as a 23% reduction in preterm births.
Prior to the state’s Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act, low-income women who were not otherwise eligible for Medicaid became eligible when they became pregnant. It was estimated that expanding Medicaid to include everyone earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level would extend coverage to an additional 77,000 women of childbearing age.