The American Heart Association applauds Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature for extending postpartum coverage.
On April 7th, the American Heart Association celebrated Governor Ivey as she signed the postpartum coverage budget into law. Until now, mothers across Alabama have lived with the fear of losing her healthcare coverage during the most critical time of the baby’s life. Today marks a new beginning. The American Heart Association together with more than 41 partner organizations worked with members of the Alabama State Legislature To ensure new mothers have postpartum care for 12 months and help save mom’s lives.
“This is a momentous step for Alabama women and babies,” said Jada Shaffer, Alabama Government Relations Regional Lead for the American Heart Association. “This coverage will save lives. It will improve the quality of life for moms and babies and it will allow for access to affordable, quality medical care.
“We are grateful for the bipartisan support of the Alabama Legislature to include funding to increase postpartum care for mothers from 60 days to 365 days.”
Through the American Rescue Plan Act, states were given an incentive to increase Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 365 days via state plan amendment with guaranteed approval and federal match.
“We thank Governor Ivey for her commitment to Alabama mothers and babies, and it is our hope that we can continue to work with the legislature and the administration to ensure this program is sustainable,” added Shaffer. “We believe that there are opportunities to take full advantage of the ARPA incentive to extend this lifesaving coverage for the full five years via state plan amendment.”
Honour McDaniel, Director of Maternal Health for March of Dimes shares, “Alabama is facing an urgent maternal and infant health crisis. It is one crisis, not two—as the health of moms and babies are intertwined. This crisis includes concerns about moms who die, those who nearly do and many who face serious health challenges before, during, and after pregnancy. Extending postpartum coverage is an essential component of reducing maternal mortality in Alabama. March of Dimes applauds Alabama policymakers for prioritizing the health of postpartum mothers and ensuring access to Medicaid coverage for one full year after childbirth.”
Over forty organizations that support this effort share these sentiments. Alabama has helped to secure the lives of mothers for at least one year with the signing of this budget. This coalition is united in its hope for this legislation and funding to extend full healthcare coverage for the maximum period available.
Women’s experiences with cardiovascular and neurological health challenges can lead to disability or death, negatively affecting their ability to care for their children. More specifically,
pregnancy can lead to cardiovascular conditions (including peripartum cardiomyopathy, stroke, heart attack) as well as adverse pregnancy outcomes (gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes) that can increase a woman’s risk for cardiovascular disease later in life. The signing of this legislation is the best option currently available to counteract the devastation caused when Alabama moms lose their healthcare.
Written by Chris Mims, Regional Vice President of Communications and Marketing for the American Heart Association in the Southeast.