FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2021
Contact: Juan Ramiro Sarmiento
(785) 760-6567 | JuanRamiro.Sarmiento@younginvincibles.org
Texas Legislature Extends Postpartum Health Coverage
(Houston, TX) — Earlier today, in the predawn hours of the morning, the Texas Senate approved the last bill to be considered before the upper chamber: a four-month expansion of postpartum Medicaid coverage benefits for new mothers beyond the 60 days required by federal law. Earlier this year, the Texas House of Representatives approved a bipartisan coverage expansion to a total of one year of postpartum Medicaid benefits, but it was later lowered to six months of coverage in the Senate.
The number one cause of death for women after birth is the lack of comprehensive health care and the United States ranks last among industrialized nations in maternal mortality.
In response, Aurora Harris, Southern Region Director, for Young Invincibles issued the following statement.
“Today’s passage of House Bill 133 represents a hard-fought victory for women and children across the Lone Star state. This measure will undoubtedly save lives and help prevent serious complications after birth.
According to the state’s Medicaid data, nearly half of Texas baby’s are born to moms on Medicaid, and over 130,000 moms stand to benefit from this coverage extension. Providing postpartum care for Texas moms is paramount to their health and their baby’s development.
The state of Texas holds one of the most alarming mortality rates in the United States, with an estimated 2014 rate of 20.7 per 100,000 live births. Black mothers, in particular, die at alarming and disproportionate rates during pregnancy and die at twice the rate white mothers do during childbirth.
While we are encouraged by the partial extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage from the federally required 60 days to six months, it falls short of the top recommendation of 12 months issued by the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee (MMMRC) appointed by Governor Abbott, as well as the scientific consensus on maternal health.
This crucial step for progress would not have been possible without the steadfast leadership of Rep. Toni Rose (D-Dallas), who filed the original house bill to extend coverage for low-income mothers, as well as the support of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services Chair, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), and the unflinching support of health care advocates across the state.”