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Despite Decline, Elective Early Births Remain A Medicaid Problem
National Public Radio

Nearly 9 percent of the births covered by Medicaid — or about 160,000 each year — were elective deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation. Early deliveries like those can lead to worse health outcomes for mothers and children and higher costs, according to a study published Monday.

The research, conducted by AcademyHealth and two state Medicaid medical directors, found the early elective delivery rate for 12 states in which trend data were available had fallen from nearly 11 percent in 2007 to 8.2 percent in 2011. But looking at the latest available data from 2010 to 2012, the average rate was 8.9 percent, according to the study in Health Affairs.