For Immediate Release:
March 3, 2022
Health Care For All Commends Senate Passage Of Bill To Extend MassHealth Postpartum Coverage
BOSTON – Health Care For All applauds the Senate’s passage of An Act relative to expanding equitable access to maternal postpartum care (S. 2731). The bill, sponsored by Senator Joan Lovely, would extend postpartum coverage from 60 days to 12 months, thereby ensuring that pregnant and birthing individuals receive the care they need. This legislation is part of broader efforts to address maternal health inequities.
Health Care For All is grateful to Senate President Spilka, Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues, and Vice Chair Cindy Friedman, also Senate Chair of Health Care Financing, for their leadership to advance this important legislation.
Maternal mortality is a growing crisis across the United States. In Massachusetts, pregnancy-associated mortality increased 33 percent between 2012 and 2014, and in 2018 the ratio of births to maternal deaths in the US was more than double that of other high-income countries. People of Color are more likely than white individuals to die or experience serious illness and injury due to pregnancy related causes. Black birthing individuals have pregnancy-related mortality rates that are over three times higher than the rate for white birthing individuals. For every person who dies from pregnancy-related causes, another 70 suffer from severe illness or disability, including behavioral health conditions.
“The passage of this bill is a critical step toward improving maternal care in Massachusetts,” says Yaminah Romulus, Policy Manager at Health Care For All. “All pregnant and postpartum residents should have access to treatment and support, especially those who are struggling with complications. We thank Senator Lovely for leading this critical bill. Sixty days of coverage is not sufficient to address the medical and behavioral health needs of the postpartum period, and we are eager for the House to take up this bill as well.”
Timely postpartum visits also provide an opportunity to address chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension; mental health status, including postpartum depression; and substance use disorders. This bill will set the stage for continuous coverage during a critical time, impacting the long-term health and well-being of pregnant and birthing individuals, their families and their communities.