Harris: Over 250K parents have access to Medicaid postpartum coverage for a full year

Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a meeting about abortion rights and Roe v. Wade, Tuesday, June 14, 2022, from her ceremonial office at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Vice President Harris on Thursday announced that 253,000 parents have gained access to 12 months of postpartum coverage through Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) extensions during the Biden administration.

Coverage of 12 months will expand to parents in Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico and Washington, D.C., which will include 15,000 people annually, due to approved actions from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The one-year Medicaid or CHIP coverage will extend to 2,000 parents in Maine, 7,000 parents in Minnesota, 5,000 parents in New Mexico and 1,000 parents in Washington, D.C.

The total of 253,000 parents includes the 15,000 new additions, as well as parents in states that have already gained access to 12 months of postpartum coverage in California, Florida, Kentucky, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey and Illinois.

“Women in our nation are dying from pregnancy related causes at a higher rate than any other developed nation, dying before, during, and after childbirth. Black women are three times more likely to be affected by this and to die from childbirth related causes. Native women are twice as likely, rural women, one and a half times likely,” Harris told reporters on Thursday.

“To be clear, this is about prioritizing the rights all women in our nation should have to full reproductive health care,” she said.

The new extension announced on Thursday is due to funding from the American Rescue Plan and extends coverage from 60 days postpartum to a full year.

White House Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice hailed the announcement, specifically for including 1,000 parents in Washington.

“Just personally speaking as a born and raised D.C. native, I’m excited to see D.C. and women in this great city benefit as well,” she said.

Half of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. occur in the 12-month postpartum period, and 12 percent occur after six weeks postpartum, according to the White House.

“This postpartum time is such a sensitive moment for new mothers and families. Now 250,000 families have time to focus on the health of their baby and themselves instead of having to worry about whether they have health care coverage,” said CMS administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.

“That alone could be the difference between life and death.”

Tags Biden administration Children's Health Insurance Program Florida Joe Biden Kamala Harris Maine Maternal health Maternal health care maternity leave Medicaid New Mexico parental leave postpartum coverage Postpartum period Susan Rice
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