Statement from Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio: The American Rescue Plan is a Lifeline for Ohio’s Children and Families
March 12, 2021
Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio applauds the passage of the American Rescue Plan. The COVID relief package just signed by President Biden provides new moms in Ohio much needed and unprecedented access to healthcare during the first year after giving birth.
12-Month Postpartum Coverage
Starting next year, states will have the option to extend Medicaid and CHIP health coverage to moms for 12 months after giving birth, making it possible for moms and babies to have a healthy start, together. Extending postpartum coverage has long been a policy recommendation to prevent maternal and infant mortality, and we should implement it as soon as possible. Ohio should move to extend health coverage to moms for the full year after they give birth.
Over half the deaths of women who were pregnant or who die within one year of pregnancy are preventable. Black women die at a rate more than two and a half times that of White women. Ohio is in the bottom quartile of states for infant and maternal health. Covering women for 12 months after giving birth is one thing our state can do to ensure all moms have access to the regular health care and mental health checks they need in that first year postpartum.
The best way to support Ohio moms and babies is to provide access to health coverage for moms throughout that critical first year after birth. By extending postpartum health coverage, we will help reduce pregnancy-related deaths and ensure mothers can access care before, during, and after pregnancy. The American Rescue makes it easier for states to cover people up to 12 months postpartum.
We strongly urge Ohio to follow suit and immediate make changes to the State Plan Amendment to protect health coverage for moms and babies during the first year after giving birth.