Extend Medicaid period for new moms, their babies - Albuquerque Journal

Extend Medicaid period for new moms, their babies

The happy news of welcoming a newborn can become challenging and even turn tragic for thousands of New Mexico mothers and their families if they lose health insurance. Lack of insurance or lack of comprehensive postpartum coverage often exposes these mothers and their babies to serious illnesses, sometimes resulting in devastating consequences. However, the state has an opportunity to create a brighter, safer future for families by taking steps to support babies and new mothers during this crucial postpartum period.

Currently in New Mexico, many mothers are eligible for just two months of postpartum Medicaid coverage, leaving them uninsured until they again qualify for Medicaid. The year after childbirth is a challenging time for mothers, not just medically, but also emotionally.

Uninterrupted access to comprehensive postpartum health care is essential to treating such medical problems as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease or hypertension, and such mental health problems as depression and anxiety. Diabetes, when untreated during pregnancy, leads to congenital anomalies and increased birth asphyxia. Other problems, such as hypertension or kidney diseases in the mother, lead to increased rates of prematurity in the baby. Mental health issues in the mother also lead to poor outcomes for the baby in the first year of life.

These challenges loom especially large for families of color due to structural biases and lack of services. The maternal mortality rates are four times higher for Black mothers than for other mothers in the state. Native American mothers comprised 20% of maternal deaths, even though Native Americans make up 11% of the state population. Babies born to mothers of color face higher prematurity and mortality rates.

However, a mother in better health after the birth of a baby leads to improved outcomes for the next pregnancy, and Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham and state lawmakers have an opportunity to reverse these trends during the upcoming legislative session.

The American Rescue Plan Act gives states matching federal funds to offer up to 12 months of postpartum Medicaid coverage. More than two dozen states are taking advantage of this extended postpartum coverage by appropriating state matching funds and plans to implement starting April 1, 2022.

Extending Medicaid coverage for new mothers for the first year during this vulnerable period has many benefits, including:

• Infants being more likely to receive recommended pediatric preventative care services, such as well child checks and immunizations.

• Decreased costs of caring for a sick baby in the Neonatal ICU due to a reduction in prematurity or birth defects.

• Better family planning services so the next baby is born at a time when the mother and baby can have the best health.

• Improved continuity of care and reduced lapses in insurance coverage, which have been shown to be one of many factors contributing to the growing maternal and infant mortality crisis.

New Mexico has already made a strong commitment to such other essential early childhood initiatives and programs as the home visiting program, childcare and early Head Start. Expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage for mothers from two to 12 months is a logical and necessary extension of these efforts to support some of New Mexico’s most vulnerable members, and improve health outcomes for mothers and infants alike.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Educators in NM rally amid growing teacher shortage
ABQnews Seeker
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has proposed ... Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has proposed pay increases in an effort to attract educators to the state
2
NYC mourns, honors officer killed Friday night
From the newspaper
Rookie was the fourth NYPD officer ... Rookie was the fourth NYPD officer shot in as many days
3
Taxpayers face overloaded IRS as filing season opens
From the newspaper
Expected delays due to stalled legislation ... Expected delays due to stalled legislation and worker shortage
4
Taliban talks spark debate about group's recognition
AP Feeds
Talks reignite the debate over whether ... Talks reignite the debate over whether they legitimize the Taliban government
5
NM tech firms awarded state matching grants
ABQnews Seeker
The NM SBIR grants are designed ... The NM SBIR grants are designed to support local science and technology companies in achieving their commercialization goals, according to a news release from ...
6
An old face returns to City Hall
ABQnews Seeker
Keller appoints Griego as city's new ... Keller appoints Griego as city's new director of outreach and advocacy
7
I don't see traffic stops 2; driver's license redo
ABQnews Seeker
MVD vendor reissues 1,800 driver's licenses MVD vendor reissues 1,800 driver's licenses
8
NM lawmakers launch another push for school of public ...
ABQnews Seeker
Proposal wasn't included in the initial ... Proposal wasn't included in the initial state spending package
9
Suit says deputy misconduct led to false detention
ABQnews Seeker
Man spent five months in jail ... Man spent five months in jail before his assault case was dismissed in Jan. '21