By Karen Stokes
The Wisconsin Legislature has taken a positive step forward to safeguard the well-being of new mothers and their infants.
The passage of SB 110, will extend health care coverage from 60 days to 12 months for postpartum mothers.
The bill passed the Senate with a 32-1 vote Monday afternoon. The bill now heads to the Assembly for additional steps.
“We all want babies to have the best possible start in life,” said Nicole Hudzinski, government relations director for the American Heart Association. “We are extremely appreciative of the Senate, especially Senators Ballweg and Felzkowski, the bill authors, for taking this important action to ensure access to care during pregnancy and for the first year after giving birth, which is essential for providing a healthy and successful start.”
Extending health care coverage from 60 days to 12 months after birth is crucial for addressing health concerns arising during pregnancy or as a result of it. This extension will enable…
• Lower income pregnant women will have comprehensive care coverage so they can secure all of the health care services they need to be healthy during and following pregnancy
• Lower risk of health problems for the baby during infancy and long-term benefits throughout growth and development
• A higher rate of women more likely to seek well-child visits for their children
• Fewer children at risk for out-of-home placement
• Support for the early detection and treatment of postpartum depression, smoking cessation, violence prevention, and the management of substance use disorders.
Despite steep declines in global maternal mortality rates over the past two decades, maternal mortality rates have more than doubled since data collection began in the U.S. in 1987. More than one in three maternal deaths occur following birth, with cause-specific mortality from heart disease and stroke being highest in the six weeks to one year after giving birth.
“Senate Bill 110 is an important step towards preventing the devastating stories we’re fighting to prevent,” said Annmae Minichiello, a heart disease survivor and volunteer with the American Heart Association. “Cardiac risk can occur up to 6 months after pregnancy, and recovering from the physical and emotional trauma requires so much more time. Having continuous access to healthcare for twelve months following the birth of a child can save the lives of the women we hold near and dear to our hearts.”