Health challenges in rural America start at birth

Katy Kozhimannil was kind enough to let me collaborate on a Washington Post op-ed that published today. It’s on a topic in her area of expertise — prenatal and maternity care in rural America. Here’s one passage:

wave of rural obstetric unit closures has increased the distance to maternity and delivery services; the least populated and most remote communities have been hit hardest. What’s left are maternity-care deserts in some of the United States’ most vulnerable communities. […]

The generosity (or lack thereof) of a state’s Medicaid program also contributes to maternity deserts. Medicaid pays for more than half of the births at rural hospitals. Rural communities in states where Medicaid covers only the poorest pregnant women are less likely to have in-county obstetric services, compared with states with more generous eligibility criteria.

Beyond Medicaid expansion, there’s more we can do, as we describe. Read the rest.


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