As we reach the midpoint of the legislative sessions, it is time for a check in on Nurture KC policy priorities. In Missouri, our top priority is adoption of extended Medicaid coverage for postpartum women from 60 days to one year. Many health issues present after that short time frame, particularly mental health. There have been more than 10 bills introduced that would extend postpartum coverage from those on either side of the political spectrum. The Senate approved the policy with some concerning amendments. The first would prohibit this benefit to women obtaining abortion services. Reproductive health should be the overriding goal, regardless of circumstance. From a practical perspective, adding this caveat may make the Missouri policy unacceptable to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) which has ultimate approval over Medicaid changes. The second is a requirement that the policy is delayed until 4,600 Missourians currently on Medicaid lose their coverage, making room for this new category of eligibility. There is still a ways to go for passage as the legislation must be approved by the Missouri House and a consensus reached on the final version before being sent to the Governor. There has been an emphasis on improving maternal health and it is time for the Missouri legislature to act.
In Kansas, vaccination policy continues to be a priority. While it has been quieter than in recent years, we cannot be lulled into a false sense of security. Legislation has passed the Senate that greatly inhibits the ability of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and local health departments from acting to prevent the spread of contagious disease. It is a troubling trend of casting doubt on those with the expertise to guide disease mitigation and placing those responsibilities in the hands of politicians. There is another bill that would expand exemptions to the current child vaccine schedule that remains viable in the Senate. While there are fewer anti-vaccination bills moving forward, adoption of either of these would be detrimental to disease prevention and would serve as a starting point to future attempts.
To view this legislation and other bills of interest, check out Nurture KC's members page.
Executive Director, Nurture KC