Panel: Impact of Health Policy on Maternal and Child Health: Examining the Role of Insurance in Increasing Access to Reproductive Health Services

Friday, November 8, 2019: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
I.M Pei Tower: Terrace Level, Terrace (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Anaka Aiyar, Cornell University
Panel Chair:  Laura Wherry, University of California, Los Angeles
Discussant:  Naveen Sunder, Cornell University

In developed and developing countries alike, reducing maternal mortality and child mortality can be achieved by improving access to reproductive health care. One way this can be achieved is to increase affordability of such health services by providing insurance. Also, mandating that providers increase the quality of care provided can be effective in cases where insurance coverage may already exist. 

In this panel session, we bring together evidence from across the world on the impact of health policies on improving health access for women and its positive impacts on the health of their children. We show that health insurance increases pre-conception reproductive health services usage as well as pre-natal and post-natal care usage for pregnant women. Access to such services play a large role in identifying and reducing risks that can develop during a woman’s pregnancy. We also present evidence that mandates to increase infertility coverage by insurance companies can increase birth rates and reduce maternal mortality rates. We show that having health insurance reduces home births, a key input into reducing the mortality risk of newborns in low quality home environment settings. Finally, we show that when policies mandate that elective deliveries are carefully monitored, neonatal mortality reduces and child health improves in newborns.  

Our panel brings together evidence that reiterates the importance of investing in policies that increase the quantity and quality of reproductive health care services as a means to both improve a woman’s health and her child’s health.

The Affordable Care Act Medicaid Eligibility Expansions and Pre-Conception Health Care
Rebecca Myerson and Sam Crawford, University of Southern California

Effects of Infertility Insurance Mandates on Maternal Mortality
Joelle Abramowitz, University of Michigan

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