Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Women's Health Issues


Volume 20

Inclusive Pages



Health Care Reform; Health Services Accessibility; Maternal Health Services--economics; Medicaid; Women's Health; Maternal and Child Health


The main purpose of this article is to analyze and describe the role of Medicaid in facilitating access to care for pregnant women and ensuring high-quality maternity care that is affordable. It first summarizes the federal Medicaid requirements regarding eligibility, coverage of benefits, financing, and service delivery, with a special emphasis on existing quality provisions. Then, it discusses current issues and recommends several Medicaid reforms, particularly in the area of quality assessment and improvement. All reforms, including Medicaid reforms, should seek to support the IOM-identified aims. Much of the emphais in Medicaid policy development has been focused on access to care and great need for reform remains in the area of quality assurance and improvement, and disparity reduction because the program can play a significant role in this regard as well. More broadly, health care reform may provide an opportunity to revisit key issues around access to and quality of maternity care, including the benefit package, the content of services covered in the package, the frequency with which these services should be furnished, and the development of meaningful measures to capture whether women of childbearing age, including pregnant women, regardless of insurance status, indeed receive efficient, timely, effective, safe, accessible, and woman-centered maternity care.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


Included in

Health Policy Commons



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