Bipartisan support for bill to expand Medicaid coverage for new moms

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 8:13 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2023 at 8:14 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - On the 50th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, there are strong feelings on both sides. But in Missouri lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are coming together to try to help women after they give birth.

“We have to make sure all of this energy around reproductive rights, whether you think today is a day to celebrate or one to reflect, we should be doing everything we can to keep new moms alive so they can raise their babies,” said Democratic State Senator Tracy McCreery of St. Louis County.

Sen. McCreery and Republican Senator Elaine Gannon of Jefferson County both introduced a pair of bills that would extend Medicaid coverage for up to one year after a mother gives birth. Currently, their coverage ends after 60 days postpartum.

“We should be doing everything we can to say that when you give birth we are going to make sure that you and the new baby are supported and lifted up,” said McCreery.

Samuel Lee is with Campaing Life Missouri and traveled to Jefferson City to testify in support of the bills.

“Absolutely this is a pro-life issue, the pro-life movement isn’t just about helping pregnant moms give birth but helping those moms and those babies after,” said Lee.

On average, 61 women die while pregnant or in their first postpartum in Missouri each year. A statistic Governor Mike Parson vowed to improve in his State of the State.

The Missouri Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review Board found 75% of pregnancy-related deaths were preventable.

Dr. David Campell with IFM Community Medicine treats low-income patients through their nonprofit. He says this kind of legislative change can save lives.

“A number of medical conditions, like diabetes, hypertension, thyroid issues, really get thrown off by pregnancy and take months to equiliberate and get medical follow up. And of course, the biggest concern is the mental health issue,” said Dr. Campell.

If the bill passes it could help up to 4,600 women each year.