Submitted by Sen. Steve O’Ban’s Office.
Proper maternity and postpartum care for women on Medicaid is critical to reducing maternal and infant deaths and improving the success of pregnancy and the health of new moms and newborns. Today, the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee will hear a bill sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, that will extend access to this care.
The hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 4 in the John A. Cherberg building on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.
Recognizing that the first year after the birth of a child is a critical time for the health and mental health of both mom and baby. Senate Bill 6106 , which has bipartisan support, would extend the length of time women can receive maternal and postpartum care covered by Medicaid to 12 months after delivery. Pregnant women and new moms in the current program lose coverage 90 days after the end of a pregnancy, falling off what is referred to as the ‘postpartum cliff.’
“Every child deserves a strong start in life and we can have a lasting impact on new moms and babies by providing greater access to health and mental-health care,” said O’Ban. “My bill would extend care for lower-income moms and their infants, which could reduce infant mortality rates and keep many moms from suffering the crippling effects of postpartum depression.”
One North Carolina study showed that deaths from maternity-related complications can be reduced by 40 percent with improved health care during pregnancy. In particular, African-American and Native-American women suffer the highest maternal mortality rates.
“If my bill means even one more mom and baby have a better chance at survival, it’s absolutely worth it,” said O’Ban.
To qualify, pregnant and postpartum women need to have an income that is equal to or below 193 percent of the federal poverty level.
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