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Politics / Issues
Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Postpartum Care Remains An Issue In Legislature Budget Talks

Top Senate and House budget negotiators met Wednesday but did not make public offers on health care spending.

Florida appears poised to extend Medicaid benefits for postpartum women. The question is, how long?

Top Senate and House budget negotiators met Wednesday but did not make public offers on health care spending.

Providing postpartum women access to Medicaid for a year after delivering babies is a top priority of House Speaker Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican who wants to spend $240 million in state and federal funding on the care.

The Senate did not initially include funding for the extension in its proposed budget, but during negotiations Saturday offered to direct $86 million in state and federal dollars to provide six months of coverage.

Extending postpartum benefits has become an emerging strategy to help prevent pregnancy-related deaths and complications.

A federal stimulus law gave states the option to extend postpartum coverage from the current two months to one year. In states such as Florida that have not expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, many postpartum women lose Medicaid coverage because they earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but too little to qualify for insurance subsidies on the federal health-care exchange.

According to a state House staff analysis, nearly 98,000 Florida women would benefit from an extension of postpartum benefits.

Sprowls isn’t the only Republican House speaker who supports extending the benefits. Texas Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan also has thrown his weight behind an extension, which was passed by the Texas House of Representatives this month.

Also, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved Georgia’s postpartum extension on Wednesday, according to the Georgia governor’s office.

Copyright 2021 Health News Florida

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