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Gov. Reeves signs postpartum Medicaid extension into law

Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

Postpartum Medicaid benefits in Mississippi have now been extended to 12 months following Governor Tate Reeves’ approval of Senate Bill 2212.

The bill, which modifies the state’s postpartum Medicaid benefits from covering 60 days to a full year, was highly debated within the House following a 41-11 vote in the Senate in early February.

Reeves announced his support of the legislation later that month, arguing that in order for Mississippi to be a better place to raise kids, lawmakers have to be willing to make “philosophically uncomfortable” decisions.

The governor then called legislators in both chambers to come to an agreement on SB 2212, pushing House Speaker Philip Gunn — a long-time critic of policies that would expand Medicaid in any form — to put the bill on the House calendar.

A little over one week later, the legislation passed out of the House despite’s Gunn’s previous threats to stand in the way of the bill if it did not include certain amendments addressing postpartum abortions and the Medicaid verification process.

Now, with Reeves’ signature, Mississippi has become the final state in the nation to approve legislation that extends postpartum Medicaid benefits past 60 days.

Following the bill’s approval, Reeves stated that the legislation will play a vital role in helping the influx of newborns that will be birthed across Mississippi due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“Today in Mississippi, we have turned our attention to furthering our new pro-life agenda, and delivering the support moms and babies need. As I’ve said before, our new pro-life agenda will not be easy, and it will not be free,” Reeves said. “If there’s one thing we should all agree on, it’s that we must do everything in our power to lower barriers for expectant moms to bring new babies into the world and to choose life.”

Reeves added that for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, mothers on Medicaid in the Magnolia State have had postpartum care extended for up to 12 months.

“Since the very early days of my term as Governor, CMS has required 12 months of postpartum Medicaid coverage for all those expectant moms enrolled in the program,” Reeves explained. “In fact, in Mississippi, we have had presumed eligibility for Medicaid for those moms for much longer than that.”

The governor expressed that although he is still against Medicaid expansion, he believes extending benefits for women on Medicaid will help give mothers extra aid post-Roe.

“I believe continuing to offer care for new moms for up to 12 months after the birth of their baby is the right thing to do,” Reeves stated. “This is one more thing that we can do to tip the scales in favor of life. And that has to be our priority.”

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