By Bob Katzen
Stuck in the House Ways and Means Committee for nearly three months, since March 7, is a measure, approved unanimously 40-0 by the Senate, designed to ensure that pregnant and postpartum mothers get necessary and potentially life-saving health care by extending MassHealth insurance coverage to 12 months after pregnancy. MassHealth is the state’s Medicaid program that provides health care for low-income and disabled persons.
“The Massachusetts Senate has taken another step to combat inequities in maternal health,” said sponsor Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem), when the Senate approved the bill in March. “By extending postpartum healthcare coverage to a full year, birthing individuals will be able to access vital physical and behavioral health resources that will decrease mortality and severe morbidity and improve the overall health of parent and child, especially for our minority populations.”
At the same time, Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) said, “The danger of dying during pregnancy or childbirth is still far too high in the United States, particularly for Black women. But the Senate is committed to continuing our efforts to ensure pregnant and postpartum mothers and people who give birth receive the critical care they need and deserve.”