The Texas House of Representatives has advanced legislation that would extend Medicaid coverage to new mothers for a period of 12 months following birth.
The proposed measure, which was passed in a preliminary vote, would require the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to extend Medicaid coverage for up to 12 months for women who are pregnant or postpartum at the time of application. Currently, Medicaid coverage for new mothers ends 60 days after birth.
“This will provide mothers who are trying to get back on their feet with the resources they need to do so,” said Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, who sponsored the bill. “It will help them get the health care they need for themselves and their children, and it will help ensure better outcomes for both.”
The bill would make Texas the 33rd state to extend Medicaid coverage for mothers up to 12 months postpartum. Supporters of the bill argued that the extension of coverage is necessary to ensure that new mothers have access to the health care they need.
“We know that postpartum depression is a real and serious problem, and that providing access to health care can help reduce the risk of it,” Turner said. “Extending Medicaid coverage will help ensure that mothers can get the care they need to stay healthy and well.”
The bill still needs to be approved by the Texas Senate before it can become law. If it is approved, it would take effect Sept. 1.