It’s been over one week since a piece of legislation that would extend postpartum Medicaid for mothers passed in the Mississippi Senate, and yet, the House has yet to refer the bill to any committee.
On February 7, 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.
The bill was sent to the House one day after being passed in the Senate, where no action has been taken on the legislation since.
During an interview on The Gallo Show, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann pushed for the passing of the legislation, explaining that it aims to help working mothers in Mississippi.
“These are moms with a child making $36,000 a year and they don’t have healthcare coverage after the two months,” Hosemann said.
Several lawmakers in the House stated their disapproval of the bill during the 2022 legislative session, leading to SB 2033, a bill with the same wording, dying on the House calendar.
Hosemann explained that although the House claimed they would pass the bill during the 2023 legislative session if voters showed their support, he is not sure if the legislation will pass in the chamber.
“For last year, the House said ‘Look, we’ve got to have somebody write us and tell us we need that.’ Well, the Medicare advisory group unanimously recommended postpartum,” Hosemann said.
He added that the majority of the funds needed to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage to mothers across the state would be supplemented by federal dollars.
“It costs us $7 million for $32 million worth of coverage for these people. $7 million in a $6 billion budget,” Hosemann said. “I just don’t understand the reluctance for it.”
According to Hosemann, the Senate has expressed their want to support not only the mothers in Mississippi but the addition of 5,000 more babies that will be born each year due to the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade case.
“There was a study in Texas that they were 10 times more likely to use contraceptives, their health, their mental health—all the good things that would go on with making sure we have a healthy mother—and it’s just the Senate’s belief that a healthy mother means a healthy child,” Hosemann stated.
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.
“I would encourage us not to say ‘Well, we didn’t kill that many people, so we ought not have this,'” Hosemann argued.
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.
To see the full interview, continue watching below.