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Legislation to extend postpartum Medicaid passes in the Mississippi Senate

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A piece of legislation that would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage has been passed in the Mississippi Senate.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 41 to 11 in approval of Senate Bill 2212, which would allow mothers under Medicaid to receive postpartum coverage for up to 12 months. At this time, postpartum Medicaid only covers up to two months.

Mississippi and Wyoming are the only remaining states in the United States that do not have an extension of postpartum benefits to 12 months or a full expansion of Medicaid. Wyoming is currently debating on implementing full expansion for eligible mothers, making Mississippi the last state in the nation to address the need for increased postpartum benefits under Medicaid.

Approximately 65 percent of mothers that give birth in Mississippi each year are covered by Medicaid, with the extension granting nearly 23,000 families additional aid before and after the baby is born.

SB 2212 is the only bill to extend postpartum Medicaid that successfully made it out of committee, with seven similar bills dying in the House and Senate committees at the end of January.

Several lawmakers in the House stated their disapproval of the bill during the previous legislative session, leading to SB 2033, a bill with the same wording, dying on the House calendar.

“This is the exact same bill that we passed last session three times 45 to five,” Senator Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, the author of both bills, said.

Legislators in favor of the bill have expressed hope that extending postpartum Medicaid will decrease the state’s rising maternal mortality rate.

The Mississippi Maternal Mortality Report recently released that the state’s maternal mortality rate has increased by 8.8 percent between 2013 to 2016 and 2017 to 2019. Out of the total number of deaths, 82.5 percent were reported as being Medicaid recipients.

The bill now heads to the House for another year, with lawmakers urging for the legislation to be taken up this session. Gunn has since released that the bill will be sent to the House committee on Medicaid.

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