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Medicaid coverage extended to one year after birth

Nevit Dilmen
Wikimedia commons / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

In New Mexico, 72% of babies are born under Medicaid coverage, according to the state's Human Services Department, the highest ratio in the nation. Now, people giving birth will have that coverage extended.

The White House along with state politicians announced Thursday that New Mexico, along with Minnesota, Maine and Washington, DC, would extend post-birth Medicaid coverage from two months to one year after birth.

In an online briefing, Vice President Kamala Harris said about a third of pregnancy-related deaths occur between one-and-a-half months and one year post-partum. She said she believes the nation is facing a maternal mortality crisis.

"Women in our nation are dying from pregnancy-related causes at a higher rate than any other developed nation. Dying before, during and after childbirth," she said.

She said the three states and Washington, DC, were joining 11 other states in extending coverage and that the impact would be broad.

"What this means is that 235,000 women will now have access to 12 months of critical postpartum coverage across 14 states and DC," she said. "This means that 12 months of pelvic exams, vaccinations, postpartum depression screening and regular checkups will be available."

The extension of coverage is part of the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion bill passed last year to help the US out of the crisis caused by the pandemic

This coverage was made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners.

Alice Fordham joined the news team in 2022 after a career as an international correspondent, reporting for NPR from the Middle East and later Latin America and Europe. She also worked as a podcast producer for The Economist among other outlets, and tries to meld a love of sound and storytelling with solid reporting on the community. She grew up in the U.K. and has a small jar of Marmite in her kitchen for emergencies.
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