Pregnant and Poor: Did Medicaid and Welfare Policy Changes Improve Care for these Women as Intended?

Vol. VII, No. 2
March 2004

Infant mortality rates in the United States remain higher than in most industrialized countries, particularly for minorities and women who do notreceive adequate prenatal care.1 Since many low-income pregnant women receive cash assistance (welfare) or are eligible for Medicaid, changes in these public programs affect them directly. Two projects funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization (HCFO) program examined how Medicaid expansions, Medicaid managed care, and welfare reform affected the insurance status, utilization of prenatal care, and birth outcomes for low-income pregnant women.