INDIANAPOLIS – Today, State Senator Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) released the following statement acclaiming the American Rescue Plan for a provision making it easier for states to extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers for a full year. Signed by President Joe Biden on March 11th, the American Rescue Plan removes red tape which had made it more difficult for states to extend coverage for new mothers beyond 60 days. Advocating for the State of Indiana to extend Medicaid coverage of postpartum care, Sen. Breaux had the following to say:

“The American Rescue Plan is a massive win for all Americans, and I will work with my colleagues to ensure that Indiana expands Medicaid coverage following the provision making it easier for states to extend coverage for new mothers. In Indiana, 86% of pregnancy-associated deaths occurred postpartum, including 37% after 6 weeks. That rate is stomach-churning when you consider that 87% of those deaths could have been prevented.”

In December, The Indiana Department of Health Maternal Mortality Review Committee cited the following as a ‘key recommendation for the State of Indiana’: “Extend postpartum coverage for Medicaid clients, and include parity to ensure appropriate access to care for chronic conditions, including substance use and mental health disorders.”

Sen. Breaux continued, “Hoosiers who give birth without being covered for vital postpartum care do not have access to basic services for birth recovery, chronic disease management, infant care and feeding, or management for their mood and emotional well-being. Many new mothers must simply pray that their own health doesn’t deteriorate as a result of childbirth.

“Race is a social determinant in the overlap between high rates of maternal mortality and the egregious rates of infant mortality. According to the CDC, Black and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women experienced higher rates of pregnancy-related deaths than all other racial/ethnic groups. Indiana Department of Health data has long shown that Black infant mortality rates exceed those of any other ethnic group. Data on infant mortality rates in Marion County shows that Black infant mortality numbers consistently surpass those of the white-majority.

“This session, I authored SB 298 to include coverage of Doulas into insurance plans so that innovative health care methods can help us tackle the systemic battle before us pertaining to the high rates of maternal and infant mortality. But it did not reach committee to be heard. Now we have another chance to support mothers and save lives. Lacking resources should never prevent someone or their child from receiving necessary medical treatment.

“I ask that Governor Holcomb expands on his commitment to decrease Indiana’s infant mortality rate by extending Medicaid coverage for new mothers.”