Rep. Kelly and Rep. Herrera Beutler Introduce Bipartisan Helping MOMS Act

Jaime Herrera Beutler
Jaime Herrera Beutler. (SUPPLIED)

Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02) and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) today introduced the bipartisan Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services Act, or the Helping MOMS Act, to permanently expand Medicaid coverage for postpartum care and combat the growing maternal mortality crisis. The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16).

“One of the most important steps we can take in addressing the worsening maternal mortality crisis and disparities in maternal health care is to ensure access to quality, affordable healthcare,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust. “Too many women in this country lose maternal health coverage too quickly under Medicaid. While my own state of Illinois has extended Medicaid coverage for a full year postpartum, and my provision to extend coverage was included as an option to all states under the American Rescue Plan, we need to incentivize other states to permanently adopt this coverage for new mothers. The Helping MOMS Act would save lives and prevent pregnancy and birth-related complications.”

“With 70 percent of new moms encountering a health complication within the first year of giving birth, it’s critical that they have access to medical care during this vulnerable time,” said Congresswoman Herrera Beutler. “The Helping MOMS Act would accomplish that goal by extending Medicaid coverage for the first year after childbirth which would help diagnose and treat postpartum depression, anxiety, and other medical complications.  Advancing the Helping MOMS Act into law would be an important step in stemming the maternal mortality crisis in the United States.”

Congresswoman Robin Kelly. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)
Congresswoman Robin Kelly. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

“By incentivizing states to extend Medicaid coverage to 12 months after delivery, the Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services (MOMS) Act would play a critical role in building on recent progress as we confront maternal mortality in the United States,” said J. Martin Tucker, MD, FACOG, President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). “New mothers need access to care in the year after delivery— a critical and vulnerable time in their health— and extending Medicaid coverage to 12 months will help to close the coverage gap and save lives. ACOG is grateful to Representatives Robin Kelly and Jaime Herrera Beutler for their leadership in re-introducing this bill, and we urge its swift passage.”

“We thank lead sponsor Rep. Robin Kelly and original cosponsors Reps. Jaime Herrera-Beutler, Anthony Gonzalez, Ayanna Pressley, and Lauren Underwood for their leadership in introducing the Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services Act of 2021 or Helping MOMs Act.,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO, March of Dimes. “This legislation will take the important step of building on the American Rescue Plan Act, which gives states the option to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage from 60 days to 12 months. Changing this optional benefit from a temporary provision by making it permanent and encouraging states to take it up with a one-year five-percent increase in their federal matching rate is a critical next step as we continue to work towards ensuring that all states have Medicaid coverage for a full year after birth and that it is a permanent, mandatory policy across the nation.”

The Helping MOMS Act of 2021 would amend the American Rescue Plan to eliminate the time limit on the state option to elect extended postpartum Medicaid coverage, allowing states a permanent option to extend coverage. The bill would also increase the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate 5% for pregnancy-related services in the first year states adopt extended postpartum coverage.

Full text of the bill is available here.

This is news from Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s office.

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