Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2011 – Marina L. Weiss, PhD, March of Dimes Foundation senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, issued the following statement on the eve of a hearing about Medicaid by the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives:
“Medicaid is an important program that provides vital health coverage for millions of women and children. Consider the following:
• Medicaid covers approximately 41 percent of births, more than 1.6 million annually.
• Almost 30 million — 1 in 4 — children nationwide rely upon Medicaid for their health insurance.
• In 2007, nearly half of both preterm infant hospital stays and the hospital stays of infants with birth defects were paid for by Medicaid.
• Millions of women and children rely upon Medicaid to supplement private insurance where medical needs exceed what the private plan covers.
“March of Dimes volunteers put faces on the numbers. For example, in Oregon, a mother who sought refuge in a domestic violence shelter, found a job, worked for two days, and at 26 weeks of pregnancy, went into labor and delivered a premature son. Her newborn spent 109 days in a neonatal intensive care unit, required multiple surgeries and a feeding tube. Medicaid was her insurer and that of her infant child.
“Or the volunteers in North Carolina – where both husband and wife are employed and obtain basic insurance through their employers. But their policies don’t cover the cost of their son’s prescription drug medications or his formula which he requires four to five bottles a day costing $8 per bottle. Medicaid covers these lifesaving treatments.
“The March of Dimes recognizes and supports the goal of finding cost efficiencies in the health care system that reduce costs for families, insurers, and for Medicaid as well as other publicly supported programs. As we go forward, however, it is important to work together to ensure that some of the most vulnerable among us – women and children in families of modest means – can continue to count on Medicaid as an essential source of health coverage.”
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies®, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.