Delaware Vote Tracker

HB 234 – Expanding Medicaid Coverage for the Postpartum Year

House Bill 234, introduced by Represenative Melissa Minor-Brown, will expand Medicaid coverage to cover women who have given birth for up to a year after the pregnancy for postpartum issues. Currently, Federal Medicaid regulations only cover women for postpartum health issues for 60 days after birth.

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine finds high rates of maternal mortality (death in the year after giving birth) in Delaware, indicating a serious problem that we can help to address by expanding Medicaid coverage.

Usha Ranji, Ivette Gomez and Alina Salganicoff wrote an article for the Kaiser Family Foundation Women’s Health Policy section on the need for this expansion.

“Postpartum care encompasses a range of important health needs, including recovery from childbirth, follow up on pregnancy complications, management of chronic health conditions, access to family planning, and addressing mental health conditions. While postpartum care has traditionally centered around one clinical visit six to eight weeks after delivery, there has been a paradigm shift to emphasize that postpartum care is an ongoing process that typically requires multiple visits and follow up care that may last a year or even longer. This is particularly important for those who experience pregnancy complications or have chronic conditions, such as hypertension or diabetes.

Mental health is a major concern during and after pregnancy. Suicidality among pregnant and postpartum people has risen over the past decade. At least one in ten women experience perinatal depression, and some studies suggest higher rates but poorer access to treatments among some communities of color and low-income women. ACOG recommends screening during the postpartum visit and initiation of treatment or referral to a mental health provider when a woman is identified with depression. This kind of care may be provided over a long duration, often lasting beyond 60 days.

Addressing pregnancy-related deaths (typically defined as death within one year of pregnancy)5, particularly the substantially higher rates among Black and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) women, is an urgent health challenge.6 At least one-third of maternal deaths occur in the postpartum period. Identifying the causes of maternal mortality and morbidity is complex, and coverage is only one factor, but research strongly indicates that access to health care throughout a woman’s reproductive years, is essential for prevention, early detection, and treatment of some of the conditions that place women at higher risk for pregnancy-related complications, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic hypertension.”

House Bill 234  SponsorsYes Votes No Votes
Minor-Brown, Baumbach, Heffernan, K.Johnson, Kowalko, Longhurst, S.Moore, Morrison, K.Williams, Wilson-Anton, M.Smith
Pinkney, Townsend, S.McBride
Current Status — House Appropriations 6/17/21

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