Missouri lawmakers weigh expansion of Medicaid for pregnant, postpartum women

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 5:57 PM CST
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HANNIBAL (WGEM) - Lawmakers in Missouri are debating the expansion of HealthNet coverage to low-income pregnant and postpartum women. If passed, coverage would include full Medicaid benefits for the length of the pregnancy and a year following the end of the pregnancy.

Officials and lawmakers said, extending the coverage is vital when women experience conditions past the first 60 days after birth. Identifying what contributes to the end of a pregnancy, as well as, how miscarriage’s factor into the bill is still being processed.

Hannibal Regional Medical Group OBGYN John Bennet said, this could lead to more, healthy moms.

”The Medicaid expansion deals with a certain population, which a lot of times is the lower economic class and those women have a harder time getting resources and by expanding Medicaid that expands the door for a lot more resources for these women,” Bennet said.

Bennett said the expansion would tell mothers and future mothers that they’re not alone, that resources are available and accessible.

“Women that are working have multiple roles and again being able to access and have support, I think you’re going to look at less post partum depression, you’re going to look at better capabilities and efficiencies in the workplace,” Bennett said.

Urgency is being pushed on the passing due to the public health emergency from the coronavirus pandemic expiring in April. This would mean the potential removal of coverage for women beginning April 1, who would otherwise be eligible if coverage extended.

In the past year, proposals similar to this have failed to be passed. The current bills for the expansion of Medicaid for pregnant and postpartum women sits awaiting a Senate committee vote.

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