JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) – Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed legislation Thursday to solidify a full year Medicaid Coverage for women after childbirth and said it was part of a “new pro-life agenda” to help mothers now that access to abortions is restricted.
Mississippi typically allows two months of postpartum Medicaid coverage. The state has allowed a full year of coverage since the COVID-19 public health emergency began in 2020, although many patients said the state has done little to let them know that post-birth coverage will end after birth continued for the usual two months.
With the national health emergency set to end in May, Mississippi officials intensified their debate about requiring a full year of postpartum benefits. Reeves is seeking re-election and Democrats have hammered him for his long refusal to support the extension.
The governor endorsed the idea Feb. 26, though he said he hadn’t seen any financial information, wanted to justify the approximately $7 million annual cost to the state.
The new law, signed by Reeves, goes into effect on July 1.
“I believe the right thing to do is to continue offering care to new moms up to 12 months after the birth of their baby,” Reeves said in a statement Thursday. “That’s one more thing we can do to make the difference in life.”
The US Supreme Court used a Mississippi case last year to extend its landmark Roe v. Wade from 1973 Turn abortion rights on their heads nationwide. A few days later, Mississippi enacted a 2007 law stating that abortion is legal only when the pregnant woman’s life is in danger or when a pregnancy was caused by a rape that was reported to law enforcement.
Mississippi health officials have predicted the state could see an increase of 5,000 births per year due to abortion restrictions.
More than a half-dozen states now have Republican officials who had previously opposed expanding health coverage after childbirth Embrace it as part of their anti-abortion agenda.
Medicaid pays for about 60% of births in Mississippi, one of the poorest states in the US
As governor since January 2020 and during two previous terms as lieutenant governor, Reeves has resisted efforts to expand the scope of Medicaid and other government programs. He hasn’t publicly changed his opposition to broader expansion of Medicaid coverage to workers in low-wage jobs that don’t offer private insurance.
Mississippi is one of 11 states who did not agree to this broader expansion. This list could be reduced to 10 states North Carolina working on expansion.
Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.
Source : news.yahoo.com