Bills Would Help Improve Maternal Health in Texas
By Jennifer Perkins


Keeping pregnant women and new mothers safe and healthy has long been among the Texas Medical Association’s top priorities, and several bills introduced this legislative session could help that goal.

“The inability to afford health insurance should not determine whether a woman lives or dies during her pregnancy,” San Antonio obstetrician-gynecologist Patrick Ramsey, MD, chair of the Texas Medical Association’s Committee on Reproductive, Women’s and Perinatal Health, told TMA. “Comprehensive pre- and perinatal health care is not only important for the new mother, but also her baby, her family, and her economic future.”

Medicaid coverage for pregnant women ends 60 days postpartum, after which they are eligible for enrollment in Healthy Texas Women Plus (HTW Plus) which provides a year of coverage for limited behavioral health, cardiovascular, and substance use disorder care but not specialty care.

Thanks in part to ongoing TMA advocacy, lawmakers this session are considering a number of bills to extend postpartum coverage:

  • House Bill 133, by Rep. Toni Rose (D-Dallas) and its companion bill Senate Bill 121 by Sen. Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas), would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for 12 months after delivery or miscarriage. Houston obstetrician-gynecologist Lisa Hollier, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Baylor College of Medicine, testified for TMA in support of the bill last week.
  • House Bill 107, by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and Senate Bill 141 by Senator Johnson, also would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for 12 months.
  • Senate Bill 428 by Sen. Borris Miles (D-Houston) would automatically enroll postpartum women in the Healthy Texas Women program, one of the recommendations TMA made last fall to the House Committee on Appropriations.

Congress also recently passed the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides a five-year funding sweetener for states that extend Medicaid coverage for one year postpartum.

Brush Up On TMA’s Legislative Priorities 

First Tuesdays at the Capitol may be virtual this year, but the event is still just as informative as ever – minus the early morning breakfast tacos and overnight travel.

Join TMA’s lobby team from anywhere in the world via Zoom to hear detailed information on the current status of bills important to medicine and how you can affect critical legislation. Only two remain this session: April 6 and May 4 – both at noon (CT).

Easy Ways to Get Involved in TMA Advocacy 

Your participation is a vital component of our legislative success. Join our advocacy efforts today.

Stay up to date on bills TMA is following closely. And take advantage of other opportunities to get involved with our advocacy efforts.


Last Updated On

April 01, 2021

Originally Published On

April 01, 2021