America’s health and prosperity will depend on the health and prosperity of the future generation — a generation comprised of children. To ensure the health of America’s tiniest citizens and the future leaders of tomorrow, the United States must take an interest in providing adequate prenatal, natal, and postnatal care to its mothers.
Part I of this article seeks to explain the barriers preventing pregnant women from obtaining adequate and affordable health insurance coverage. I examine the three health insurance options currently available to pregnant women — employer-sponsored health insurance, individually purchased insurance, and government-funded insurance — and provide an overview of the legal history regarding the pregnant woman’s access to health care coverage. Part II provides a discussion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and analyzes whether Obama’s 2010 health care reform made any significant progress towards improving the pregnant woman’s ability to access affordable health care coverage. Part III concludes the article with further recommendations for reforming the new health insurance system, which include (i) updating the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) standard or adopting a new measurement to more accurately reflect the poverty level and economic need of families and individuals; (ii) adopting a “fallback provision,” which extends affordable health insurance coverage to all pregnant women who do not otherwise have access to any means of affordable health insurance; and (iii) instituting more outreach, transparency, and accountability within the state health insurance systems.