Missouri is close to expanding Medicaid healthcare coverage to the state’s low-income mothers and their babies. By a vote of 117-26, the Missouri House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan plan that would provide full government-funded healthcare coverage to women while pregnant and for one year after the end of pregnancy, instead of the current 60 days post-pregnancy.

State Rep. Melanie Stinnett, R-Springfield, carried the bills in the House.

“So in 2019, 75% of pregnancy related deaths in Missouri were determined to be preventable,” said Stinnett. “Those deaths were attributed to things like embolism, hemorrhage, infections, concerns with cardiovascular health, chronic health conditions, and there’s one common denominator that can save these women’s life – and that’s health care access.”

Stinnett successfully added a change that would also raise the income limits for Missourians with disabilities – to allow them to continue working without the risk of losing access to their healthcare benefits.

State Rep. Bridget Walsh Moore, D-St. Louis, supports the change.

“These are people who are actually begging us to work, who want to get promotions,” said Walsh Moore. What your bill does is addresses the fiscal cliff, making sure that you don’t have to do quite as much of a tap dance that too many people in our state are doing where you’re allowed to make so much money, but only to a certain point, then you lose all of your benefits that allow you to have that job.”

Other House changes would:

*Prevent immediate loss of government benefits, like food stamps, when participants get a pay raise or consider a job promotion. The amendment would instead reduce those benefits proportionate to any income increases

*Removes a requirement that state and local law enforcement officers and staff must be under the supervision of a medical director or licensed ambulance service in order to give naloxone, or Narcan, to someone who has overdosed on drugs

*Allow patients under 18 to have Do Not Resuscitate orders issued on their behalf by a parent or legal guardian or by a juvenile or family court

*Create a program to provide forgivable loans to education expenses for health care, mental health, and public health professionals

*Designate October second of each year as “Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Awareness Day” in Missouri

Since the House made several tweaks, Senate bills 45 and 90 go back to the Senate for Senators to decide if they will go along with the latest version.

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