Maternal mortality: Where are We Now and Policy Strategies Moving Forward

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Maternal mortality continues to be a major issue in the United States (U.S.). This thesis aimed to review years prior in the U.S. that had expanded Medicaid and determine if there was a significant decrease in maternal mortality rates compared to the years after Medicaid expansion. Data from the National Centers for Health Statistics (NCHS) from 2007-2019 was utilized, and maternal mortality across race/ethnicity was also analyzed utilizing the Mann-Whitney U Test. Though there was not a significant difference, this analysis confirmed the disproportionally high maternal mortality rates of Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaskan Native women when compared to white women. Moreover, this thesis pointed to the fact that addressing maternal care and mortality in the U.S. cannot be met by only expanding access to care, as seen by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Because of the complexity of this problem, swift policy action is warranted in regards to Medicaid expansion, more comprehensive policies with data and access to care, and ultimately addressing the social determinants of health and upstream issues that are aiding in the high maternal mortality. As health services researchers and clinicians continue to conduct research in this area, this thesis suggests that future analyses should include multiple variables in order to paint a more cohesive picture.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health