In September 2013, Congress again will review the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. Fourteen states cover the fetus only (and not the pregnant woman) under the “unborn child” provision of the current law. That the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act continues to make it possible for states to provide health insurance coverage to the fetus only has been critiqued for unnecessarily politicizing the law, dragging abortion and personhood debates into the matter of children's health insurance and creating unacceptable tensions between maternal and fetal health. Although the 2009 reauthorization attempted to remedy this issue by also providing coverage for the pregnant mother, it is imperative to review these changes and their effect before the 2013 reauthorization. To ensure optimum health care for both the fetus and the woman, we urge for removal of the “unborn child” pathway and promote coverage of both the fetus and the pregnant woman.
The unborn child provision of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act should be repealed, and coverage should be expanded to the pregnant woman and child.
Northwestern University, and the American Medical Association, Chicago, Illinois.
Corresponding author: Kavita Shah Arora, MD, MBE, 250 E Superior Street Suite 05-2177, Chicago, IL 60611; e-mail Kavita.Shah.Arora@gmail.com.
Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.