Reducing cardiovascular maternal mortality by extending medicaid for postpartum women

Janki P. Luther, Daniel Y. Johnson, Karen E. Joynt Maddox, Kathryn J. Lindley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Maternal mortality has been increasing in the United States over the past 3 decades, while decreasing in all other high-income countries during the same period. Cardiovascular conditions account for over one fourth of maternal deaths, with two thirds of deaths occurring in the postpartum period. There are also significant healthcare disparities that have been identi-fied in women experiencing maternal morbidity and mortality, with Black women at 3 to 4 times the risk of death as their White counterparts and women in rural areas at heightened risk for cardiovascular morbidity and maternal morbidity. However, many maternal deaths have been shown to be preventable, and improving access to care may be a key solution to addressing maternal cardiovascular mortality. Medicaid currently finances almost half of all births in the United States and is mandated to provide coverage for women with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, for up to 60 days postpartum. In states that have not expanded coverage, new mothers become uninsured after 60 days. Medicaid expansion has been shown to reduce maternal mortality, particularly benefiting racial and ethnic minorities, likely through reduced insurance churn, improved postpartum access to care, and improved interpregnancy care. However, even among states with Medicaid expansion, significant care gaps exist. An additional proposed intervention to improve access to care in these high-risk populations is extension of Medicaid coverage for 1 year after delivery, which would provide the most benefit to women in Medicaid nonexpanded states, but also improve care to women in Medicaid expanded states.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere022040
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 3 2021


  • Health policy
  • Medicaid
  • Postpartum


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