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U.S. House Passes Herrera Beutler’s Bipartisan Helping MOMS Act
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services (MOMS) Act, legislation led by U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Robin Kelly (D-IL), aimed at reducing and ending America’s growing maternal mortality crisis.
The bill provides states with the option to extend Medicaid coverage through the entire postpartum period of one year, a proven strategy for reducing maternal deaths. Currently, most states only provide Medicaid coverage for 60-days immediately following childbirth. In order to increase the coverage window, the state must apply and be approved for a waiver by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
“I’m pleased the House approved our bipartisan Helping MOMS Act, which is going to ensure women can access care in the year following birth,” Congresswoman Herrera Beutler said. “We know that seven out of ten new moms will face a health complication during that time, so guaranteeing their ability to see a doctor and get treatment if needed is a monumental step in our fight to end this nation’s maternal mortality crisis.”
“This is a big step toward reducing the tragedy of preventable maternal deaths by ensuring new moms can continue to seek necessary medical care,” Congresswoman Kelly said. “I’m proud to have brought my colleagues from both sides of the aisle together to address this growing public health crisis. This is not a magic pill to solve America’s maternal mortality crisis, but this bill provides a solid, bipartisan, evidence-based approach to saving lives. We must continue working, inside and outside of government, to ensure starting a family doesn’t cost a woman her life.”
Data clearly shows that 70 percent of new moms will have at least one health complication within a year of giving birth. With more than half of new moms covered by Medicaid, the Helping MOMS Act could significantly improve these health outcomes.
In recent years, the U.S. has made headlines for its disturbing and growing rate of maternal mortality. It was more dangerous to have a baby in 2018 than it was in 1985. According to the CDC, 700-900 American moms lose their lives every year due to pregnancy or birth-related complications. More than half of these tragic deaths are entirely preventable per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Herrera Beutler’s bill, Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, was signed into in 2018 – a landmark piece of legislation and the largest successful step Congress has taken to combat maternal mortality. Her bill authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue the first round of grants to states to help with their efforts to combat maternal mortality. Washington state received $375,000.