A recent study of the Journal of Women’s Health sent shock waves throughout the country and medical community when it revealed that state Medicaid programs finance 48% of births in the U.S. or roughly 2 million babies each year.
As an obstetrician who devoted her life caring for medically and fiscally underserved women, those numbers don’t surprise me a bit given the current state of our wretched economy and the dismal politics that go along with it. However, anyone who has ever witnessed the birth of a baby knows that it is nothing short of a miracle.
Of course, there will be extremists who will address pregnant Medicaid recipients with the stereotypical labels of “Welfare Queens,” “moochers” and other derogatory terms based on the limitations of their narrow perspective. However in truth, most of these women hold minimal wage jobs, sales positions that don’t provide insurance or are unable to use their husbands’ healthcare plan because pregnancy is considered a “pre-existing” condition. Some are also budding entrepreneurs.
The way in which we treat our middle class and working poor reflects our values as a nation. While I’m not proud of the fact that the wealth of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet alone account for 40% of the U.S. population’s wealth, I am proud and grateful that they use their money to help the least among us through programs funded by their respective and collective foundations. I am also proud to live in a country where we have compassion and value for human life.
Medicaid has helped finance over 2 million births in our country. Do you feel proud or ashamed?