State Representative Summers calls on Indiana to seize opportunity, expand postpartum Medicaid coverage

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) issued the following statement in response to the American Rescue Plan's inclusion of a state option to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage to new mothers to 12 months, an increase from the standard 60 days:

“In 2020, I launched the Maternal Health Caucus to combat Indiana's appalling maternal mortality rate. One of the caucus's main goals is to develop a statewide postpartum plan for mothers from birth through one year after birth. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, Indiana has a chance to achieve this goal and save countless mothers and their babies.

“In Indiana, for every 100,000 live births, 53 Black mothers die. I leave it to you to determine what is more frightening: the fact that this rate has remained steady long enough for me to cite it for the past few years or the fact that it could be drastically reduced by simply extending Medicaid coverage by 10 months. This extension has been on several legislative recommendation lists, most recently from the 2020 Maternal Mortality Report.

“To fulfill these calls for change, this year I authored House Bill 1155: Postpartum Medicaid coverage to do the exact same thing that the American Rescue Plan is doing. Indiana could've been ahead of the game this year, but HB 1155 died without so much as a hearing. 

“We've been given a second chance to do right by Hoosier mothers and our babies. Don't tell me that now is not the time. Don't tell me that it's too expensive. Every life, every mother, every child is worth saving. And it is our responsibility as lawmakers to do so.

“I urge Governor Holcomb and the Family and Social Services Administration to seize this opportunity and give Hoosier mothers the support they deserve.”

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