Sen. Hawley: 42% of Babies Born on Medicaid is ‘Not a Good Thing at All’

Emily Robertson | February 18, 2022 | 2:18pm EST
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Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)  (Getty Images)
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) (Getty Images)

( -- When asked if it was a good thing that 42% of the babies born in America in 2020 were born on Medicaid, Sen. Josh Hawley (R- Mo.) said, “Born into families who are below the poverty line, no, that’s not a good thing at all.”

At the Capitol on Thursday, asked Sen. Hawley, “According to the CDC, 42% of the babies born in America in 2020 were born on Medicaid. Is that a good thing?”

The senator said, “Well, born on Medicaid … born into families who are below the poverty line, I mean, no, that’s not a good thing at all. And I think one of the most important things that the federal government can do, the government at any level can do, is to encourage families with two-parent families.”

“If you particularly look at families with a father in the home, if more men would be responsible for the kids that they father, and would be responsible for the women they say they love, you would see a lot of children lifted out of poverty, and that’s huge,” said the senator. followed-up with the question, “40.5% of the babies were born to unmarried mothers. Do you think that’s related to the high number born on Medicaid?”

“Well, I think statistically, if a correlation between single-parent households headed by women and then kids in poverty, absolutely,” said Hawley. “It just goes—it shows you again, I think, about what happens when you have a father who is absent who chooses to have children, but won’t support them. And it really leaves the mother in a very—I mean a really detrimental position because she’s then got to try to work and trying to support kids.”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“So this is why I say that I think everything we can do to encourage responsible fatherhood to have kids, to raise those kids, to support, to lend support to women that they have—the mother of their children-- I think is absolutely critical,” he added.

Last week, the CDC released new data on births in 2020 listing the statistics of babies born on Medicaid, born to married and unmarried mothers, the race of the mothers, as well as other relevant information.

Women who gave birth were either on Medicaid or used private insurance as the main source of paying for the delivery. While births on private insurance increased from 50.2% the year before to 50.6%, the percentage of Medicaid births decreased from 42.1% to 42.0%.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The percentage of babies who were born to unmarried women overall in 2020 increased 1% from the year prior to 40.5%. 

The CDC also created tables that list the births of babies to unmarried mothers beginning in the 1940’s. The percentage at that time for all races was only 3.8% of unmarried women who gave birth. In 1999 it hit 33%.

“Authorized by Title XIX of the Social Security Act, Medicaid was signed into law in 1965 alongside Medicare. All states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories have Medicaid programs designed to provide health coverage for low-income people,” the website says. “Although the Federal government establishes certain parameters for all states to follow, each state administers their Medicaid program differently, resulting in variations in Medicaid coverage across the country.”

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