March 10, 2021

March of Dimes, the leading nonprofit fighting for the health of all moms and babies, today welcomed the House passage of the American Rescue Plan of 2021, providing women much-needed access to Medicaid coverage after giving birth. Today’s vote, which sends the package to President Joe Biden for his signature,  gives states the option to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months for five years, is an important step forward in addressing the maternal health crisis.

An estimated 700 women die from complications related to pregnancy each year and more than 50,000 other women experience life-threatening complications due to labor and delivery. The threat of maternal mortality and morbidity is especially acute for women of color and there are significant racial and ethnic disparities that exist in maternal health care. Also, one in five women are affected by anxiety, depression and other maternal mental health conditions during the postpartum period.

“In order to prevent pregnancy-related deaths and life-threatening complications we must ensure that women have continuous access to health care before, during and after pregnancy,” said March of Dimes President and CEO Stacey D. Stewart. “We have long championed the need to extend this critical coverage to postpartum women and commend President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer for their leadership in addressing this urgent health equity issue.”
Stewart also expressed special thanks to House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, as well as the sponsors of the MOMMA’s Act: Senators Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Representative Robin Kelly for all their efforts to extend postpartum coverage.

Making the policy permanent will be necessary to ensure women don’t lose health insurance when they need it the most, thereby risking their health. March of Dimes calls on Congress to take the next step and make this coverage a permanent, mandatory benefit in all states across the country.

The organization also commends Congress for taking action on other key provisions it has advocated for in the COVID-19 relief package. These include significant new public health resources for testing, vaccine distribution and the development of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, expanded loan assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program for nonprofit charities serving communities,  increased  investments in SNAP and WIC to address food insecurity, and additional funding to the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program to improve the development, health and well-being of at-risk families with young children.

Christine Sanchez (571-257-2307)
[email protected]