July 2, 1997

Medicaid Coverage for Young Women and Children: Whose Welfare Is at Stake?-Reply

Author Affiliations

Harvard School of Public Health Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1997;278(1):24. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550010038032

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In Reply.  —The fact that 39% of all births in 1994 were paid for with Medicaid funds is shocking. However, as I pointed out in the Editorial, the 1991 through 1994 increase to 39% is not due to an increase in the number of babies whose births are paid for by Medicaid but by a decline in the number of babies born to women with private health insurance. Part of this decline has occurred because women with higher incomes are not having as many babies as in previous years. But an increasingly important part of the decline in private health insurance coverage of births is due to employers' either not offering health insurance to their employees or increasing the premium share paid by employees for dependent coverage. A large majority of the women affected by the expanded eligibility for Medicaid are working or are dependents of workers—they simply cannot afford or do