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

Emily Robertson | February 16, 2022 | 3:17pm EST
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Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.)  (Getty Images)
Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) (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. Todd Young (R-Ind.) said, “No, it’s not a good thing.”

At the Capitol on Tuesday, asked Sen. Young, “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, “No, it’s not a good thing, I mean the goal of—ideally the goal of the Medicaid program should be to help people to a life of self-sustainment, right? Unfortunately, it’s a long-term health policy solution for a lot of people.”

“So, that’s a failure of leadership at the federal level to change that program over a number of years,” he said.  “We need to be thinking in those terms across all of our social and public health programs. How do we—how do we help people get into a self-sufficient spot?” 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?”

“I wouldn’t go that far, I don’t know that Medicaid is responsible for non-marital births and I also know there are a lot of Americans who aren’t married, but are good, involved parents, so it’s hard to paint with a broad brush,” Sen. Young replied.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“But studies do show that children that grow up in married households tend to do better,” said the senator.  “It’s a generalization, but they tend to do better and so we should encourage people to marry when they have children. But we should also understand that there are some cases where that’s not appropriate.”

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%.

(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 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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