Bills, Bills, Bills: HB 133
Updated: Apr 13, 2021
By Perdita Henry and Leah Joiner
Update: The Calendars Committee sent HB 133 to the House floor. On April 14, the House will vote on the bill, which will increase postpartum healthcare coverage in Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months. You can support this bill by contacting your Representative here. You can utilize the talking points below to craft your message of support.
The 87th Texas Legislature is off to an interesting start, but TWHC is monitoring a flurry of bills that stand to make the women’s health programs better. We’ve talked about all of them here, but over the next few weeks, we are going to zoom in on some of them and share exactly what they are positioned to do, talking points you can use, and how you can contact the house and senate representatives assigned to the committees poised to decide if the bill moves forward.
This week's featured bill
HB 133 will allow moms to get Medicaid coverage for 12-months postpartum, which will improve continuity of care. Currently, postpartum women only receive two months of Medicaid coverage. Allowing 12 months of coverage gives mothers the time to adjust to the needs of their baby and recognize the challenges they may face physically and mentally.
The year after giving birth is recognized as a crucial time that, if properly managed, through healthcare access can reduce maternal morbidity and mortality. In fact, the Texas’ Maternal Mortality & Morbidity Review Committee lists increasing healthcare access for postpartum women as their top recommendation in their December report, stating that:
“Among the reviewed 2,013 cases of pregnancy-related death, 31 percent occurred 43 days to one year after the end of pregnancy. Chronic disease was a top patient related contributing factor to maternal mortality. In the reviewed cases, the lack of access to care or financial resources contributed to inadequate control of chronic disease as well as to delay or failure to seek care and adherence to medical recommendations.”
TWHC and Texans Care for Children recently explored this in a graphic we partnered on, called Consistent Health Care for New Moms Makes a Difference. In it, we look at the very different outcomes Mary and Jennifer have after birthing children in Texas and in Arkansas.
Increasing the time postpartum mom’s have to comprehensive medical care is lifesaving and necessary.
This bill successfully passed through the House Human Services Committee! It now needs to be heard by the full House chamber, and to do that the Calendars Committee must get it on the House schedule (You can learn more about the process bills have to go through to become law here). You can encourage members of the Calendars Committee to schedule HB 133 for the House, and advocate for the bill with your House Representative. You can find who your Representative is with this search tool. Below are talking points to help in drafting emails to members or to advocate for HB 133 in meetings with members and their staff.
Calendars Committee Members:
Today, Pregnant Women’s Medicaid only provides postpartum coverage for up to 60 days.
For optimal health outcomes, postpartum care should be an ongoing process tailored to the specific needs of every woman rather than time limited access to care.
HB 133 would implement the top recommendation of the Texas’ Maternal Mortality & Morbidity Review Committee and promote health for moms and babies during the critical first year of a baby’s life.
Most pregnancy-related deaths in Texas are preventable.
When a client’s Pregnant Women’s Medicaid coverage ends 60-days postpartum, they might lose access to the specialty care needed to manage and treat chronic conditions.
One of the best strategies to reverse these trends is to ensure women have access to healthcare before, during, and after pregnancy.
When women are able to plan and space their pregnancies, mothers experience healthier outcomes and babies have less risk of prematurity and low birth weight.
Access to preventive healthcare also contributes to decreasing unintended pregnancies – thereby saving Medicaid costs to the state.
Extending the length of postpartum coverage for women on Medicaid will help improve outcomes for both mom and baby, support healthier subsequent pregnancies, and reduce Medicaid costs to the state.
Planning a meeting with legislators? TWHC is happy to talk strategy ahead of your meeting. Contact us at info@TexasWHC.org and we will help you ensure you hit all the right points in your meeting.
Download a one-pager of the bill graphic and the information in this blog to keep in your preparation for your meeting with legislators.