Dr. Michel Boudreaux, assistant professor in the University of Maryland School of Public Health, received a new investigator grant to research the effect of health care reform in Massachusetts on infant and maternal health. Dr. Boudreaux’s research, entitled “Born on Reform: Infant Health and Health Reform in Massachusetts,” will examine how the state’s health care coverage initiative, implemented in 2006, affected prenatal care use, birth weight, gestational age at birth, five minute APGAR scores, pregnancy associated hypertension, and other outcomes.
Massachusetts’s health care reform included several features adopted by the Affordable Care Act and, as it mandated that all people obtain health coverage, provides an opportunity to study the effect of expanded health coverage. The reform decreased the percentage of uninsured Massachusetts’s residents by nearly fifty percent; this would be the first study to examine how the state’s health care reform affected maternal and infant health.
“As a result of Massachusetts’s health care reform, women of childbearing age received health coverage prior to becoming pregnant, which enables us to track how pre- and early-conception health care access affects pregnancy outcomes,” said Dr. Boudreaux, who is in the school’s Department of Health Services Administration. “The effect of Massachusetts’s health care reform on maternal and infant health can provide insight on how the Affordable Care Act may affect those outcomes nationwide.”
Dr. Boudreaux’s study will utilize data from birth certificate records, and will have a quasi-experimental design that compares changes in Massachusetts to changes in a set of control states. In addition to examining overall effects, health care reform’s effect on race-based disparities will be investigated.
AcademyHealth’s New Investigator Small Grant program is in partnership with the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) and the March of Dimes. Dr. Boudreaux’s grant is funded by March of Dimes.
Dr. Boudreaux’s dissertation, which found that children who received Medicaid benefits (age 0-5) showed statistically significant and meaningful improvements in adult health (age 18-54), received the twenty-third Annual John Heinz Dissertation Honorable Mention award from the National Academy of Social Insurance.