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New moms on Medicaid in Missouri may see coverage extended

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12152021 Mother with baby
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Missouri women on Medicaid are four times more likely to die within a year of giving birth than those with private insurance.

A proposed bipartisan bill would greatly increase the length of health care coverage for new mothers.

The legislation from State Senators Elaine Gannon (R-De Soto) and Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur) aims to extend coverage for low-income women from 60 days after giving birth to a full year.

Women in Missouri who are on Medicaid are four times more likely than women on private insurance to die within a year after their pregnancy. Sen. Schupp believes Missouri needs to address the ability of women to access health care sooner rather than later.

"We've been looking at maternal mortality in the state of Missouri and it is so much higher than the national average," explains Schupp. "And, our national average is so much higher than other industrialized countries around the world."

As to whether this bill is able to pass through the conservative Missouri legislature, Schupp is confident that it ultimately will, citing similar laws that have been passed by lawmakers in recent years.

Schupp observes, "There is bipartisan support for making sure the women in the state of Missouri who give birth are healthy and successfully able to take care of their new baby."

Kansas lawmakers will consider a similar plan come January.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
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Elizabeth Ruiz is a freelance producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz