© 2024 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
KBSU 90.3 and KBSX 91.5 are operating at significantly reduced power at various times for the next several days as workers for another broadcaster are on the tower. Power is reduced for their safety.

Medicaid extension for postpartum care clears House committee

Jamie Grill
Tetra images RF/Getty Images

Medicaid coverage for new mothers in Idaho could be extended to a year after giving birth under a new bill heading to the House floor.

Right now, pregnant women are only allowed to stay on Medicaid for 60 days after giving birth. Idaho is one of just four states that haven’t extended postpartum Medicaid coverage according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“It is difficult for a new mother to find time to have her own medical problem addressed in the first 60 days postpartum as that is such a busy time in caring for a newborn,” said Dr. Sara Thompson, an OB-GYN with Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Idaho has the highest rate of postpartum depression in the country at 25.4%, according to state data from 2021.

In 2021, six of the nine Idaho women who died due to pregnancy-related causes had contributing mental health conditions.

That’s one reason Fred Birnbaum with the far-right Idaho Freedom Foundation said the bill will simply add to the federal debt.

“Many of the women that died had substance abuse problems or other health comorbidities. So the notion that this is just going to work is not supported by the facts,” said Birnbaum. “It’s an expansion of an out of control program.”

He was the only person who opposed the bill during Monday morning’s hearing.

Supporters reject the claim it won’t save money.

The federal government pays 90% of the cost for pregnant and postpartum enrollees. But if they’re cut off from postpartum coverage after 60 days and re-enroll in Medicaid due to low income, Rep. Megan Blanksma (R-Hammett), the bill’s sponsor, said that federal share drops to 70%.

A fiscal analysis for the proposal doesn’t include an estimate of how much taxpayers could save under the plan.

The bill could be taken up by the full House later this week after clearing the House Health and Welfare Committee on a 9-2 vote.

Copyright 2024 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

You make stories like this possible.

The biggest portion of Boise State Public Radio's funding comes from readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

Your donation today helps make our local reporting free for our entire community.