The link between maternal health and access to health care is undeniable. As we examine maternal morbidity at Nurture KC’s Annual Meeting on July 21, we’ll look at several factors that lead to a “near miss,” not the least of which is Medicaid eligibility. The Kansas General Assembly concluded its legislative session by voting down floor amendments that would expand Medicaid eligibility and the Missouri legislature chose not to fund a voter-approved constitutional amendment to do the same. The Missouri legislature also failed to fund existing Medicaid during the regular session, jeopardizing access to vital services by those who need it most. The health of mothers and babies has become a political consideration rather than a matter of public health.
The federal government has been much more responsive than what we have experienced at a state level in Kansas and Missouri, quickly prioritizing maternal and infant health. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, adopted on March 18, 2020, extended postpartum coverage for mothers to one year after birth. This is a significant jump from the status quo of 60 days, and is to remain in effect until the end of the pandemic. The American Rescue Plan, adopted in 2021, allows states to extend postpartum coverage for one year.
Please join us on July 21 as we take a closer look at the drivers of maternal morbidity and identify strategies, including policies that should be implemented to address this problem in a sustaining way.
Executive Director, Nurture KC