In March, Rebekah Hazelton, Director of the Wyoming Women’s Foundation, and I (Marissa Carpio, Advocacy Coordinator of the Wyoming Women’s Foundation), co-authored an Op-Ed piece for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle about the importance of access to healthcare for women and babies in Wyoming. This article was a public addition to our interim topic submission to the Wyoming Legislature’s Labor, Health, and Social Services Committee. Over the course of the summer, the Committee discussed various topics, including maternal health. Watch Rebekah testify on this bill at the June committee meeting!
I am happy to report that the Labor, Health, and Social Services Committee voted to sponsor a bill that would extend the postpartum Medicaid benefit from 60 days to 12 months after birth.
What does a “committee-sponsored bill” mean?
This means that in January, the Wyoming Legislature will begin the process of (hopefully!) passing this bill into law. Committee-sponsored bills are the results of an interim study; they have the backing of the committee and information gathered throughout the interim session. Because of the time and effort put into the study, committee-sponsored bills are often more successful than legislator-sponsored bills. January 10th, 2023 is the first day of the Legislative Session; it’s where the Wyoming Women’s Foundation will continue its efforts to ensure that this bill becomes a law and that women receive health insurance in the months after birth.
What’s the deal with this bill?
Extending postpartum Medicaid is crucial for the health and wealth of moms and babies in Wyoming. Currently, after 60 days, a majority of women are disenrolled from the Medicaid Pregnant Women Program. In those 60 days:
- women do not have time to receive their second postpartum check-up (recommended by ACOG within 12 weeks of birth),
- many postpartum conditions cannot be resolved,
- some postpartum conditions do not even arise within that time period, and
- pregnancy-related deaths can occur (1/3 of them between 1 week and 12 months post-birth!).
This bill proposes a benefit extension, so women can receive continuous care from the time the baby is born to 12 months postpartum. Healing and receiving the necessary care is a long and important process so that women can avoid financial and health-related stress, return to work, and attain economic self-sufficiency.
Interested in learning more? Watch the Equality State Policy Center’s Medicaid Expansion video.
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Did you give birth using Medicaid? WYWF wants to hear your story. Email Marissa for more information.