Sen. Paul: Statistically, Having Children ‘Before You’re Married, The Consequences Often are Poverty’

Emily Robertson | February 16, 2022 | 12:23pm EST
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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)  (Getty Images)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (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. Rand Paul (R-Ken.) said “it’s a good thing for moms to have health care” but it would be better if they were “under private insurance.”

As for the large number of children born to unwed mothers, some 40.5% in 2020, Paul said “the statistics are pretty strong that if you have children before you’re married that the consequences often are poverty….”

At the Capitol on Tuesday, asked Sen. Paul, “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, “I think it’s a good thing for moms to have pre-natal care to be – to have health care for those who are having babies. I think it would be better probably -- and the statistics show -- that having a private doctor you tend to have better outcomes as far as disease goes.”

“Ideally,” he continued, “we’d want as many people as we could possibly get to be under private insurance. Because if we had 80% of people on Medicaid, the hospitals would all go bankrupt because they don’t pay the hospitals enough to actually stay in business.”

“So, you know, saying it’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s good to have health care,” Paul said. “But people have to realize we run a huge deficit each year taking care of 40% on Medicaid. If it were any higher we’d have more problems with managing the debt.”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images) 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 mean the statistics are pretty strong that if you have children before you’re married that the consequences often are poverty, more often than not are going to be poverty, so I think there’s a great economic argument for waiting to have children till you’re married,” Sen. Paul replied.

“It’s not something that’s easily fixable with legislation, but it’s something that every young person should know,” he added,  “is that your chances of getting ahead in life go up dramatically if you wait to have kids till you’re married.”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

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-covered births decreased from 42.1% to 42.0%.

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

The CDC created tables that liste 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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