Postpartum Care Medicaid Extension Advances Through House Committee


Extending Medicaid coverage for new mothers in Idaho to a year after giving birth is being considered in a new bill that will soon go to the House floor.

Currently, pregnant women can only remain on Medicaid for 60 days following delivery. Idaho is among only four states that have not expanded postpartum Medicaid coverage, as reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“It can be challenging for a new mother to prioritize addressing her own medical concerns during the initial 60 days after giving birth, as this period is typically consumed with caring for a newborn,” noted Dr. Sara Thompson, an OB-GYN at Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Idaho boasts the highest rate of postpartum depression in the nation at 25.4%, based on state data from 2021.

In 2021, six out of the nine Idaho women who passed away from pregnancy-related causes also had underlying mental health conditions.

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Debate Over Medicaid Bill

A statement by Fred Birnbaum from the far-right Idaho Freedom Foundation, the bill will only contribute to the federal debt.

“Many of the women that died had substance abuse problems or other health comorbidities. “The idea that this will simply work is not backed by the facts,” Birnbaum stated. “It’s an expansion of a program that is spiraling out of control.”

He stood out as the sole individual who objected to the bill at the hearing on Monday morning.

Supporters dispute the assertion that it won’t save money.

The federal government covers 90% of the expenses for pregnant and postpartum enrollees. However, if individuals lose postpartum coverage after 60 days and later re-enroll in Medicaid because of low income, Rep. Megan Blanksma (R-Hammett), the sponsor of the bill, mentioned that the federal share decreases to 70%.

The fiscal analysis for the proposal does not provide an estimate of potential taxpayer savings under the plan.

The bill is expected to be considered by the full House later this week following its approval by the House Health and Welfare Committee with a 9-2 vote.


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