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Hawaii Legislative Session Update

We are excited to share legislation to help protect the health of new moms has been introduced for Hawaii lawmakers to consider. It would extend the current 60-day Medicaid post-delivery/postpartum benefit to one full year.

Currently in Hawaii, women covered by Medicaid are only offered 60 days of postpartum care. However, according to Hawaii Department of Health 2019 report on maternal mortality, 50% of Hawaii’s pregnancy-related deaths happen between 43 and 365 days after birth. A maternal death is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 1 year of giving birth. Recent data collected by the CDC indicated that 80% of pregnancy-related deaths in Hawaii were found to be preventable. In order to ensure all mothers, have access to care during this critical time, we support extending postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year. 

Many new mothers grapple with heart health issues surrounding pregnancy. A growing body of evidence shows some of the most dangerous pregnancy-related complications – preeclampsia, blood clots, and heart problems such as cardiomyopathy – may not surface until weeks or months after delivery. These issues are rising in prevalence, and mothers need access to care during this high-risk time frame. 

Women of color are 2-3 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications compared to their white counterparts. Studies have documented disparities in health insurance coverage among low income, young, and minority populations. This gap can be reduced for these populations as we increase access to quality care and coverage, especially during the vulnerable postpartum period. All mothers deserve quality care and coverage before, during, and after pregnancy.

We believe implementing systems that support mothers and ensure equitable health outcomes should be a policy priority for Hawaii legislators. Healthy mothers are the foundation of healthy families.

As this legislation moves through the process, we will likely be reaching out asking for you to contact your state lawmakers. We hope we can count on your support. If you'd like to track the legislation yourself there are two bills, HB1773 and SB2634. 

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