ACOG Statement on AMA Support for 12 Months of Postpartum Coverage under Medicaid

June 12, 2019

Washington, DC — Ted L. Anderson, MD, PhD, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued the following statement regarding the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates vote in support of extending postpartum coverage to women covered under Medicaid to 12 months:

ACOG is pleased that our physician colleagues from across specialties and around the country have joined ob-gyns in speaking out in support of extending Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum. There is clear value in helping women receive reliable postpartum health care beyond the 60 days that are currently covered.

“Maternal mortality in the U.S. deserves the full attention of America’s health care providers and policymakers. Many pregnancy-related deaths occur postpartum, including beyond the initial few months after birth. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that one in three pregnancy-related deaths occurred between one week and one full year after birth; this figure does not include deaths related to suicide or overdose, which are also a leading cause in pregnancy-related deaths in a growing number of states.

“In fact, multiple state maternal mortality review committees have recommended extending Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum as a way to improve maternal health outcomes following findings that many maternal deaths, including those linked to cardiovascular disease, cardiomyopathy, and overdose and suicide, occur in the postpartum period.

“Already, federal statute covers a baby born to a mother on Medicaid through the first year of life. That baby’s mother needs the same level of access to care. Closing the critical gap in coverage during this vulnerable time can mean the difference between life and death for some women.

“More than 40 percent of births in the U.S. are covered by Medicaid; clearly Medicaid plays a critical role in ensuring the health and well-being of women and babies across the country. We are grateful that the AMA has joined ACOG in endorsing extended Medicaid coverage for these women. We look forward to standing in solidarity with our colleagues across specialties in advocating for legislation and policies, including at the state and federal levels, that would do so.”

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org