Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type



Public Health

Director of Thesis

Dr. Kevin Bennett

First Reader

Dr. Peiyin Hung

Second Reader

Dr. Peiyin Hung


The United States despite being one of the most industrialized and wealthiest nations in the world, has the worst maternal and child health outcomes of any industrialized nation. The rates of maternal morbidity, mortality, and infant mortality have been increasing within the past decade, when many causes of death for this population are preventable. This study conducted a literature review on Medicaid policies and associated programs between three states (South Carolina, North Carolina, and California) in order to gain background information. Secondly, a comparative Medicaid policy analysis was completed using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] framework, which was then implemented into Andersen’s Healthcare Utilization model. The findings were consistent with previous research regarding the health disparities and inequities within Medicaid policies and the healthcare system towards mothers of color and those with lower social determinants of health. In conclusion, the expansion of Medicaid coverage for mothers and renovation of the healthcare system to accommodate all populations equally, is immensely helpful. The analyzation of three states provided insight into programs and policies that work for high-risk mothers or those who are underrepresented. Therefore, understanding the specific programs and resources mothers utilize during their pregnancy that yield better health outcomes for herself and her child, is monumental in saving the lives of mothers and their babies.

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© 2023, Cassidy L. Lena