In an important step forward in addressing our nation’s maternal health crisis, a key House committee today will be voting to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage up to 12 months in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package. March of Dimes welcomes this action as it is a longtime policy priority the organization has championed to provide women much-needed access to postpartum coverage. 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.
“We commend the Energy & Commerce Committee for ensuring that pregnant and postpartum women have access to continuous health care coverage when they need it the most as one third of pregnancy related deaths occur one week to one year after delivery,” said March of Dimes President and CEO Stacey D. Stewart. “Almost two-thirds of maternal deaths are preventable, and now is the time, as we are in a public health pandemic, to enact these life-saving polices that will help improve health outcomes for all women.”
March of Dimes also thanks lawmakers for including full coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for up to a year after the public health emergency ends. The organization also welcomed the continuation of increased funding for the federal health system for the nation’s testing, vaccine distribution, and the development of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, critically important steps in protecting the health of all women, infants, and families.
March of Dimes urge the Committee to pass these provisions today that are urgently needed more than ever and advance them to the House floor for a vote, so that the Senate can take up the legislation.