Washington DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly (IL-02) and Lauren Underwood (IL-14) joined Sarah Coombs from the National Partnership for Women and Families and Protect Our Care for a press event to discuss how the Congressional end-of-year package provides a critical opportunity to improve coverage for children, moms, and everyone on Medicaid. Speakers discussed the importance of expanding postpartum coverage, requiring 12 months of “continuous coverage” for children, permanently reauthorizing CHIP funding, passing the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021, and strengthening Medicaid coverage in Puerto Rico. Protect Our Care’s end-of-year agenda can be found here.
“Now that the election is behind us, it is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on passing these important priorities,” said U.S. Representative Robin Kelly. “In the end of the year package, I am committed to working with my Senate and House colleagues on both sides of the aisle to permanently extend Medicaid postpartum coverage in all states. More than half of maternal deaths occur between one week and one year after giving birth. Congress should require a full year of postpartum coverage for all states. In less than five years, the state plan option will sunset, leaving new mothers vulnerable once again. This provision, along with other important Medicaid policies under consideration, such as requiring 12 months of continuous coverage for children and permanently authorizing CHIP funding, would improve the lives of women, families and children. Let us get this done.”
“I’m calling on Congress to pass my Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act without delay,” said U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood. “The facts are alarming: Our nation has the highest maternal mortality rate of any high-income country, and more than 80 percent of these deaths are preventable. The Momnibus is the solution to this crisis, and every day that goes by without its passage is a disservice to millions of mothers and families — we can and we must pass this legislation before the end of the year.”
“No matter the final outcome of the House, Congress has too much unfinished business to kick the can on critical policies that would help minimize health coverage disruptions, mitigate the maternal and infant mortality crisis, and protect the economic security of women and families. Congress must act now,” said Sarah Coombs with the National Partnership for Women & Families.
“The American people have made clear that expanding access to affordable health care is a top priority, and Congress should act to finish the year strong and strengthen Medicaid coverage for millions,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Medicaid is a lifeline for families across the nation, and research shows that policies to improve Medicaid coverage have far-reaching benefits for the health and well-being of communities. These steps to invest in maternal health, protect children’s coverage, and strengthen Medicaid in Puerto Rico will prevent widespread coverage loss, support rural hospitals, improve health outcomes, advance equity, and save lives.”