A measure to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage to low-income women in Mississippi failed to pass the legislature.
Lawmakers reviewed and made changes to the Medicaid Technical Bill, which determines how the program is operated. A Senate bill changed postpartum care from 2 to 12 months. But when the House and Senate met in conference it died. Republican Senator Kevin Blackwell of Southaven discussed the issue on the Senate floor this week.
“We’re number 21 for maternal mortality. We have 22 deaths per 100,000 on maternity. Actually not having this in place has cost us over $3 million in additional care,” said Blackwell.
Blackwell chairs the Medicaid Committee and held hearings where medical professionals recommended extending postpartum care to 12 months. Nakeitra Burse operates a public health, research and development company. She says the rate of maternal mortality is higher among black women. Burse says several women in her family died after giving birth. She says a legislative Mortality Review Committee recommended in 2019 to expand Medicaid postpartum care to at least 12 months.
“There are other communities that are putting these in place. There other states that are expanding Medicaid and the data is there to prove that extending Medicaid to that 12 month postpartum period saves lives,” said Burse.
Mississippi is ranked number one in infant mortality. The legislative session is expected to end today.