Racial Disparities Exist in Infant Mortality Rates


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According to USA Today, despite significant drops in the national infant mortality rate over a decade (13% overall), there still exists a large gap among racial groups and in the Southern states and the rest of the country. The most proven way to eliminate premature births that lead to death is home visits by nurses. These got a “boost” due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In 2014, just 115,000 families received home visits by a nurse as part of the ACA.  Nearly 1.8 million births a year are covered by Medicaid. Still, a 2012 report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that less than one third of state Medicaid programs fully covered home visits.

According to the Center for American Progress, it is estimated that it would cost state and federal Medicaid programs nearly $60 billion over 10 years to extend nurse home visits to all eligible mothers. However, savings from preventing premature births is would be nearly $21 billion over that same timeframe.

Latino infants die at a rate of 5 for every 1,000 live births. The emotional and economic toll of premature deaths is staggering. More than 23,000 total infants die before their first year in the country. The U.S. infant mortality rate is higher than nearly all of the other 33 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“If a woman who can’t get prenatal care loses a child, what do you think the odds are that she can get mental health treatment for her depression?,” said Janis Orlowski, a kidney doctor who is chief medical officer of the Association of Academic Medical Centers.

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