Medicaid Extension for New Mothers Should Be Top Priority for Texas
Medicaid benefits for new mothers may get a six-month extension past the absolutely pitiful two months that is currently covered in Texas. Originally the extension was intended to expand benefits for a full year, as recommended by experts:
"All of the recommendations from the [health commission] and the maternal mortality and morbidity task force committee — the recommendations were 12 months,"
According to March of Dimes, 700 women a year die in the United States from complications during or after pregnancy. That number is unacceptable. Additionally, people of color are much more likely to die due to pregnancy-related complications;
Being a person of color is not a cause for pregnancy-related death. However, communities of color are disproportionately affected by racism. Racism and unequal living conditions affect their health and well-being. This puts them at higher risk of pregnancy complications, such as pregnancy-related death.
In a state that claims to value the lives of babies, the mother caring for said baby should have access to post-partum healthcare. If this woman does not happen to have private insurance, as many Texas women don't, the state needs to step up and provide it for them. Texas is actually embarrassing underinsured:
According to recently released U.S. Census data, the share of Texans without health insurance — 18.4 percent in 2019 — was twice the national average of 9.2 percent. And those numbers have risen in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, causing economic turmoil and massive job losses.
Post-partum coverage must be extended and it must include mental health for the mother, as post-partum depression is much more common than the status-quo would care to admit, and it is NOT the fault of the mother. If you broke a limb, you would seek medical treatment. That blaringly obvious logic should hold just as true for any mental health condition. I am quite frankly sick to death of the attitude that folks with mental health issues should just "buck up." It is as real as any other injury or sickness and it needs to be treated by a professional.
Texas has passed laws preventing the termination of pregnancies. Texas does not tend to teach comprehensive sex education in schools. We want babies to happen a lot, it seems. But we don't want to seem like giant, enormous, absolutely huge hypocrites, now do we? We simply must pass this extension, then continue the fight to extend it for an entire year.
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