Bauer applauds COVID relief, urges expansion of postpartum coverage
INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Maureen Bauer (D-South Bend) today applauded the American Rescue Plan Act’s allocation of COVID-19 relief funds to her district and urged the Holcomb administration to take the opportunity to extend postpartum care under Medicaid.
South Bend will receive more than $63 million of aid the relief package provides to cities and counties across the country. The payments will come in two phases - one coming 60 days after President Joe Biden’s signing of the act on March 11 and the second a year later. This money will be available for a broad range of targets, including replacing tax revenue lost during the pandemic.
“As our vaccine rollout continues to grow, the gears of recovery are beginning to turn,” Bauer said. “The people of South Bend have stayed strong throughout this crisis, but individuals, businesses and the city itself were hit hard. These funds will help us all get back on our feet and build back better.”
The provisions in the act include an option that allows states to expand Medicaid to cover new mothers for up to one year after giving birth. Present requirements only mandate coverage for up to 60 days. Surveys show 75% of voters in Rep. Bauer's district agree that Medicaid coverage should be extended to 12 months. 21 states have already done so. Indiana, however, has not and currently holds the third highest maternal mortality rate in the country. Of the recorded pregnancy-related deaths in 2018, 87% were preventable while 86% occurred postpartum and 37% after 6 weeks.
This session, Rep. Bauer authored several bills to protect the health of pregnant women in Indiana, none of which were granted hearings in the Republican-led committees. While Gov. Holcomb again named protections for pregnant workers as a priority this year, the General Assembly has only advanced House Bill 1309, which allows an employee to request pregnancy accommodations but holds no obligation for an employer to provide them.
“For too long, Indiana has been failing to protect pregnant Hoosiers,” Bauer said. “These statistics should alarm everyone, regardless of politics. While meaningful legislation continues to face roadblocks in the Statehouse, the American Rescue Plan offers a chance for Governor Holcomb to make good on his word. By taking this chance to extend postpartum coverage, we can start saving lives right now.”