The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the nation’s leading organization of physicians dedicated to the care of women, celebrates the essential and monumental American Rescue Plan Act signed into law yesterday by President Joseph Biden. The legislation, which ACOG was proud to support, is critical to address the economic and health care needs of people throughout the country and to bolster the U.S. public health and medical systems to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Importantly, to address our nation’s maternal mortality crisis, the Act takes a monumental step forward by allowing states to extend continuous, comprehensive postpartum coverage for Medicaid and CHIP to 12 months after the end of pregnancy, a years-long advocacy priority of ACOG’s. Several states have petitioned the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to extend coverage during the postpartum period and many more have begun the process. The Act creates a streamlined pathway for states to extend this coverage without having to utilize existing onerous processes. Implementation of this policy will mean the difference between life and death for many postpartum people. A coverage extension is especially critical now, as the COVID-19 pandemic risks exacerbating the maternal mortality crisis. This legislative achievement would not have been possible without the critical advocacy of our obstetrician-gynecologist members, who work tirelessly to elevate their patients’ voices.
ACOG and other maternal health experts share the goal of ensuring that all people have coverage for and access to the comprehensive care they need to thrive after experiencing pregnancy. To achieve this goal, ACOG looks forward to working with state governments to implement this life-saving policy and will continue our partnership with Congress to build upon this critical step.
Find more information on the policies included in the American Rescue Plan Act.