By Perdita Henry and Leah Joiner
The 87th Texas Legislature is headed toward Sine Die and TWHC continues advocating for bills that have progressed over the session. A few weeks ago, we zoomed in on HB 133, which made it through the House and is now in the Senate. To better the chances of it making it through the Senate process and becoming law, we need to maintain those advocacy efforts. Below is the bill summary, how it will improve the women’s healthcare safety net, talking points you can use, and how you can contact the Senators assigned to the committee poised to decide if the bill moves forward.
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 moms have to comprehensive medical care is lifesaving and necessary.
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.