COVID-19 bill gives states pathway to reduce maternal deaths

WASHINGTON (AP) — Labor and delivery are thought of as the riskiest times for new mothers, but many women die in the weeks and months after giving birth.

Now a provision in the COVID-19 relief bill would help change that. The legislation gives states the option of extending Medicaid coverage to women with low to modest incomes for a full year after childbirth.

States are currently required to provide coverage for 60 days, but research shows women can die from pregnancy-related conditions up to a year after giving birth. Three in 5 of all such deaths are preventable.