Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi, a Republican, signed legislation on Thursday establishing a full year of Medicaid coverage for women after giving birth, calling it a “new pro-life agenda” to support moms now that access to abortion is restricted.
Mississippi typically permits Medicaid postpartum coverage for two months. Since the COVID-19 public health emergency began in 2020, the state has allowed a full year of coverage; nevertheless, many patients claim the state did little to inform them that the postpartum range extended after the customary two months.
Mississippi officials increased their discussion about committing to a full year of postpartum benefits as the national public health emergency is scheduled to end in May. Democrats attacked Reeves, who is up for reelection, for his protracted unwillingness to support the extension.
Even though the governor claimed he had not seen the financial data he needed to support the roughly $7 million annual cost to the state, he nonetheless supported the concept on February 26.
Reeves signed a new law that becomes effective on July 1.
Reeves said in a statement on Thursday, “I believe continuing to give care for new moms for up to 12 months following the birth of their kid is the right thing to do. There is just more action we may do to skew the odds in favor of life.
The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last year using a Mississippi case as justification.
A few days later, Mississippi passed a law from 2007 stating that abortions are only permitted when a pregnant woman’s life is in danger or when the pregnancy was brought on by a rape reported to the police.
Because of abortion restrictions, health professionals in Mississippi have forecasted that the state may experience an increase in births of 5,000 each year.
Republican leaders who opposed extending postpartum Medicaid coverage support it as part of their anti-abortion campaign in over a half-dozen states.
In one of the poorest states in the country, Mississippi, Medicaid covers around 60% of births.
Reeves has fought attempts to broaden Medicaid’s eligibility requirements and the reach of other government programs as governor since January 2020 and during his two prior tenures as lieutenant governor.
His resistance to a more significant expansion of Medicaid coverage to working individuals with low-wage jobs that don’t offer private insurance has not changed in the public eye.
Mississippi is one of the 11 states that did not consent to the more extensive extension. Given that North Carolina is working on an expansion, that list might be reduced to just ten states.