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The impact of state Medicaid eligibility and benefits policy on neonatal abstinence syndrome hospitalizations

Aparna Soni, Lindsey Bullinger, Christina Andrews, Amanda Abraham and Kosali Simon

Contemporary Economic Policy, 2024, vol. 42, issue 1, 25-40

Abstract: Rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) resulting from opioid misuse are rising. However, policies to treat opioid misuse during pregnancy are unclear. We apply a difference‐in‐differences design to national pediatric discharge records to examine the effects of state Medicaid policies on NAS. Among states in which Medicaid covered two clinically‐recommended medications for treating opioid misuse (buprenorphine, methadone), the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion reduced Medicaid‐covered NAS hospitalizations. Medicaid expansion did not affect NAS hospitalizations in other expansion states. These findings imply a nuanced relationship between Medicaid policy and NAS that should be considered in addressing opioid misuse among pregnant women.

Date: 2024
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https://doi.org/10.1111/coep.12623

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