Noncitizen immigrants are often excluded from accessing critical safety-net programs, such as Medicaid. Access to health care plays a central role in current policy debates on maternal health. Yet, immigrant exclusions are rarely considered in maternal health policy research. Through open-ended interviews with 31 policymakers, researchers, and program administrators, we examined state variations in approaches to providing care for pregnant, post, and intrapartum immigrant women. We found four themes: (a) a patchwork safety-net exists that provides some access to immigrants ineligible for Medicaid; (b) patchwork coverage leads to patchwork care, which can contribute to maternal health inequities; (c) immigrant Medicaid policy is assembled along a hierarchy of deservingness based on documentation status; (d) Trump-era public charge rules and political climate may have a substantial chilling effect on benefit uptake regardless of eligibility. We discuss implications for efforts to expand Medicaid postpartum and address the maternal health crisis.
- maternal and child health
- state policy