House Advances Axne-Backed Legislation to Help New Mothers

September 29, 2020
Press Release
The Helping MOMS Act will help expand Medicaid coverage to include the full length of postpartum period

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation cosponsored by Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) to expand Medicaid to help new mothers.

The Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services Act of 2019, or Helping MOMS Act, will allow states to provide one year of postpartum coverage for women under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

The current law requires only 60 days of coverage for mothers. 

“Mothers across this country will tell you that two months is just the beginning of healing after childbirth,” said Rep. Axne “This bill will help ensure that Iowa’s moms have all the support they need for health care conditions like depression, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, and countless other illnesses a new mother can experience.”

Medical researchers have shown that a woman's postpartum period lasts up to 12 months after the delivery of a baby. 

While newborn babies are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP for their first year of life to cover any complications that arise during this critical time, their mothers lose their health insurance coverage just 60 days after delivering their child. 

One study showed that 70% of new moms will have at least one health complication within a year of giving birth.

“The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) thanks Congresswoman Axne for cosponsoring the Helping MOMS Act and for her continued support to ensure this bill received a vote in the House,” said Jonathan Webb, CEO of AMCHP“Iowa’s own maternal mortality review committee recommends extending Medicaid for one full year postpartum instead of the current cut-off of 60 days in order to improve access to and continuity of care for women in that crucial window of time after giving birth. The Helping MOMS Act makes it easier for states to make that change and has great potential to improve maternal health outcomes for women in Iowa and across the United States.”

"MomsRising applauds the House passage of the Helping MOMS Act,” said Nadia Hussain, Maternal Justice Campaign Director for MomsRising Together. “Too often moms lose their lives during the postpartum period. Expanding Medicaid to one year after birth will be critical for saving the lives of moms, helping to ensure that they can be there to watch their children grow and thrive.”

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists commends the U.S. House of Representatives today for passing H.R. 4996, the Helping MOMS Act,” said Maureen G. Phipps, M.D., MPH, FACOG, CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “H.R. 4996 will incentivize states to close a critical gap in health coverage for women who rely on Medicaid by extending coverage from 60 days to 12 months after delivery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is a time when women are at risk for several life threatening conditions, accounting for one-third of maternal deaths. ACOG commends Representative Cindy Axne for her cosponsorship and support for evidence-based programs and policies that will help meaningfully move the needle to eliminate racial inequities in maternal health outcomes and end preventable maternal mortality.”