The Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City (Tessa Weinberg/Missouri Independent).
Lawmakers on Wednesday weighed legislation that would extend provisions relating to health care services for pregnant and postpartum women in Missouri.
The House Emerging Issues Committee heard from state representatives and witnesses testifying in favor of four identical bills that would extend the 60-day coverage for pregnant and postpartum women up to a year after birth. No one opposed the bills.
A bipartisan issue, Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Sedalia, Rep. Bishop Davidson, R-Republic, Rep. Melanie Stinnett, R-Springfield and Rep. LaKeySha Bosley, D-St. Louis, each sponsored what they described as pro-life legislation.
The bills would provide MO HealthNet, which is Missouri Medicaid, coverage for pregnant and postpartum women who qualify, which would include full Medicaid benefits for the duration of the pregnancy and for one year following the end of the pregnancy.
The federally funded coverage would continue until the federal authorization for such coverage is in effect.
If passed, the legislation would take effect as soon as Gov. Mike Parson signs the bills.
Bosley said approval would be a victory for women across Missouri. She said that hundreds of women are waiting for this change to reduce the maternal and infant mortality rate and that it would affect Black Missourians specifically. African American women are three times more likely to die during childbirth than their white peers, Bosley said.
“We are discussing a change that hundreds of women have longed for and waited for; a change that is in the right direction to reduce our maternal and infant mortality rate,” Bosley said.
Many voiced their support for the bill, including Ravi Johar, OBGYN, Samuel Lee, director at Campaign Life Missouri, and Susan Klein with Missouri Right to Life.
Similar legislation passed through a Senate committee Feb. 1 and is on the Senate’s informal calendar, waiting to be taken up by the full Senate.
This story originally appeared in the Columbia Missourian. It can be republished online or in print.
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