Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, co-sponsored a bill last week that would give states incentives to extend the length of time new moms on Medicaid receive coverage.
The Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services Act, or MOMS Act, would encourage states to extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers from two months to one year postpartum. It would provide a 5 percent bump to the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentages to states that approve the extension.
“Every woman who’s had a baby knows the postpartum period can be the most difficult,” Herrera Beutler said in a media release. “In the United States, women are more likely to die of pregnancy-related conditions following the birth of their child than during pregnancy and yet, for many women, their health care coverage ends just 60 days after giving birth.”
Currently, pregnant women are eligible for Medicaid if they meet certain residency and income criteria. More than half of new mothers are covered by Medicaid.
California, New Jersey, South Carolina, Missouri and Washington, D.C. already extend Medicaid to new moms for a full year.
“If we’re going to get serious about reversing the maternal death rate in America, we need to ensure that women’s access to treatment isn’t abruptly cut off during this vulnerable time, and that’s what the Helping MOMS Act will do,” Herrera Beutler said.
“In my ongoing effort to put an end to the maternal mortality crisis, I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan legislation that will increase new mothers’ access to life-saving care.”
H.R. 4996 was introduced to the House floor on Nov. 8 by Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill, and is co-sponsored by two other Democrats — Lauren Underwood of Illinois and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. Three more Republicans, including Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, Michael Burgess of Texas and Earl Carter of Georgia, have also signed onto the bill.
Before she was elected to represent Washington’s 3rd Congressional District in 2010, Herrera Beutler served as McMorris Rodgers’ senior legislative aide.
Herrera Beutler is one of two legislators to found the Congressional Maternity Care Caucus, and she’s introduced several bills focused on maternal and child health over the last year.
A bill she introduced, the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, was signed into law last year and authorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to offer grants to states for tracking and analyzing maternal mortality data.