JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi House passed a bill that would provide women with a full year of Medicaid coverage after giving birth.
Senate Bill 2212 passed the House with an 89-29 vote. The bill now heads to Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.), who recently voiced his support for the bill and said he would sign it.
Reeves said he is willing to do so “as part of our new pro-life agenda.” He said more babies will be born because the U.S. Supreme Court upended abortion rights nationwide last year with a case that originated in Mississippi.
“I believe that to be a beautiful thing,” Reeves wrote. “I also believe that added stress will be felt by more Mississippi moms. We have to love them. We have to support them.”
Medicaid pays for about 60% of births in Mississippi. The state is one of the poorest in the U.S., and it has high rates of infant mortality and maternal mortality. Black women are significantly more likely to have complications after pregnancy.
“Postpartum Medicaid extension passing out of both chambers is a very good thing for Mississippi. We’re grateful for the advocates and medical professionals who fought tirelessly to ensure this moment would come to pass, and for the many Mississippians who spoke out to let our state’s elected leaders know that Mississippi’s moms and babies deserve better,” said House Minority Leader Robert Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Derrick Simmons in a joint statement.
Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have extended postpartum Medicaid coverage to a full year.
Since the COVID-19 public health emergency started in 2020, Mississippi has allowed a full year of postpartum coverage, although many patients have said the state did little to let them know the coverage remained after the usual two months.
The national public health emergency is set to expire in May.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.