Statewide, there is only one OB/GYN for approximately every 19,000 women. The rising costs of liability-insurance premiums as a result of medical-malpractice lawsuits drive physicians from Obstetrics and Gynecology. Not only do we need to recruit more physicians, we need to make it more financially feasible for them to care for women in Oklahoma.
Many Oklahoma mothers smoke during pregnancy or choose not to breastfeed, both of which have negative impacts on their babies’ health. Emphasizing the importance of certain health behaviors before, during, and after pregnancy could help lower Oklahoma’s infant mortality rate. Health insurance also means better health outcomes for mother and child and should not be ignored in the fight against infant mortality.
Health insurance is critical in addressing both of the issues above. If women are uninsured, they cannot receive the best care for themselves and for their babies. Oklahoma rejected Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act but no alternatives for these Oklahoma women have been enacted.