New mothers need health care coverage

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Sen. David Blount

By Senator David Blount

Jackson Advocate Guest Writer

The 2023 legislative session is underway. One of the most important issues I am pushing is extending health care insurance coverage for new mothers.

This much needed coverage was first offered as part of the Affordable Care Act. Mississippi is one of twelve states that has refused to accept expanded health care coverage for its citizens under the Affordable Care Act. Worse, Mississippi is one of three states that has refused to extend a mother’s Medicaid coverage from 60 days to one year after the birth of a child.

The Senate passed a bill that I co-authored to extend coverage during the last legislative session. The bipartisan bill died in the House of Representatives. I am confident the Senate will pass another this bill this year.

Medicaid is a jointly funded state and federal program that provides health coverage for low-income people. Almost all of the people covered by Medicaid are children, pregnant women, the elderly, and disabled. The federal government pays for about 78% of the cost and the state pays about 22%. For those covered under expansion of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pay 90% of the cost. Most of these 300,000 Mississippians are working in low-paying or self-employed jobs that do not provide health insurance.

Medicaid pays for about 65% of all births in Mississippi. Federal law requires 60 days of coverage after birth. For a family of three, the income limit is about $22,000. However, in Mississippi a mother become uninsured 60 days after birth. That’s because in most cases her income when she is no longer pregnant is too high to qualify for Medicaid and too low to buy private insurance. A married mother with a newborn child loses Medicaid coverage if she and her husband have an annual income above about $5,760. If she is not married the income limit is about $4,584 a year, or $382 a month. 

Postpartum health coverage is important to ensure a safe recovery from childbirth, follow up on pregnancy complications, manage chronic health conditions, provide access to family planning, and address mental health needs. At least one-third of maternal deaths occur in the postpartum period. 

The governor could extend this coverage but has chosen not to do so. I am sponsoring a bill this session to require that our Medicaid program support these new mothers. 

As always, I am happy to meet with any groups, neighborhoods, or churches in Senate District 29 to listen and discuss issues that are important to you. You can reach me using the contact information below.

Thank you again for the opportunity to work for Hinds County in the State Senate. 

You can contact me by email ( or by calling my office at the Capitol (601-359-2220). I am also on Facebook and Twitter (@sendavidblount).

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New mothers need health care coverage

By Jackson Advocate News Service
January 31, 2023