Feb 20, 2024 - Health

Iowa's postpartum holdout status

Illustration of a stork carrying a red cross

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Iowa is one of four states that has yet to provide a full year of postpartum care for Medicaid recipients under the Affordable Care Act, Axios' Maya Goldman reports.

Why it matters: The U.S. is experiencing a maternal health crisis, especially affecting those who live in rural areas, Black women and mothers who are older.

Catch up fast: States are required to provide pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage for 60 days postpartum.

  • While they've long had the option to seek federal approval for longer coverage windows, Congress passed a law in 2021 making it easier for states to extend postpartum eligibility to 12 months.
  • Arkansas, Idaho and Wisconsin are the only other states that have not extended the care.

Of note: The policy is seen as a key strategy for efforts to reduce maternal mortality.

What they're saying: Gov. Kim Reynolds is calling for lawmakers to extend coverage with a bill advancing in the Legislature with bipartisan support, Iowa Public Radio reports.

  • "Building a robust culture of life means supporting mothers and growing families who are struggling to make ends meet," Reynolds said in a statement to Axios.

Of note: The Senate approved the bill Monday.

  • Yes, but: The latest version would further restrict eligibility to families based on income, which some Democrats oppose.

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