Post-partum Medicaid expansion the right thing to do

Published 4:00 am Sunday, March 19, 2023

Mississippi took a critical and much-needed step forward in providing healthcare on Thursday as Gov. Tate Reeves signed a law extending post-partum Medicaid coverage.

The new law gives mothers who rely on Medicaid a full year of health care coverage after giving birth.

Heralded by health care advocates, the law is an important step toward addressing the state’s woefully high maternal mortality rate.  That, combined with the nation’s highest infant mortality rate, points to the challenges women in our state face.  By extending postpartum health care coverage, mothers can seek care for pregnancy-related health issues long after they give birth, hopefully improving outcomes for both mothers and infants.

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Like anything in Mississippi politics, passing this law wasn’t easy. For two years the Senate has pushed this legislation, passing multiple versions of the bill. And for two years, House Republicans blocked the measure.

That is until two weeks ago when Gov. Tate Reeves endorsed the bill after two years of not taking a stand. In doing so, Reeves cited the measure as a way to “tip the scales in favor of life.” And we agree with him.

Being “pro-life” isn’t a one-issue approach to politics or governance. Being pro-life means supporting measures that enhance or protect life across the entire spectrum – from conception to death. Supporting adequate post-partum health care coverage to the two-thirds of Mississippi women who rely on Medicaid for assistance falls squarely in the responsibility of anyone who wants to protect and nurture life in all its stages.

As does providing expanded health care coverage to the state’s working poor.

Polls have shown that 80 percent of Mississippians – from both sides of the political aisle – support Medicaid expansion in our state.  We’d like to think this long-overdue adoption of post-partum health benefits is the first step toward state leaders recognizing the need to address the Medicaid expansion issue.

Quite simply put, it’s the right thing to do.

About Catherine Hadaway

Catherine Hadaway, as The Vicksburg Post’s publisher, oversees the business operations of the newspaper. She is a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala. and is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis where she earned bachelor’s degrees in Business and Religion. She is a Director of Boone Newsmedia, Inc., the family company that owns The Post. Catherine comes from a long line of newspaper publishers, starting with her grandfather, Buford Boone, who served as publisher of The Tuscaloosa News and earned journalism's highest honor when he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 for his editorial titled "What a Price for Peace." Catherine is a member of The Rotary Club of Vicksburg, Junior Auxiliary of Vicksburg, The Heritage Guild, The Sampler Antique Club and The Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Executive Committee.

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