Mississippi House passes bill to allow for quicker Medicaid coverage in pregnancy to try to reduce deaths of moms and babies

By Dave Andrusko

With near unanimous backing from both Republicans and Democrats, “Mississippi eyes quicker Medicaid coverage in pregnancy to try to reduce deaths of moms and babies,” according to the Associated Press’s Emily Wagster Pettus.

“Mississippi could allow Medicaid coverage earlier in pregnancy in an effort to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies in a poor state with the nation’s worst rate of infant mortality.” The vote was an overwhelming 117-5.

Pettus wrote that “Processing Medicaid applications can take weeks, and physicians say early prenatal care is important.” The solution the legislature proposed was a bill that allowed 60 days of “presumptive eligibility” for Medicaid, starting July 1. “This means a pregnant woman’s outpatient medical care would be paid by Medicaid as her application for coverage by the government insurance program is being considered,” Pettus wrote.

House Medicaid Committee Chairwoman Missy McGee pointed out that Mississippi has high rates of fetal mortality, infant mortality and maternal mortality.

“I think this will go a long way in helping moms and babies be healthy … and give babies the best shot for a healthy life,” McGee said.

Democratic Rep. John Hines Sr. said, “Earlier eligibility for Medicaid coverage during pregnancy could help the state in recruiting OB-GYNs.”

 Hines added, “This is a step toward making Mississippi a better place.”

Ingrid Duran, NRLC’s Director of State Legislation, said, “NRLC applauds Mississippi lawmakers who are leading with legislation that embraces the unborn and her mother.”

The bill now moves to the Senate.