Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Minnesota Expands Postnatal Health Coverage

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Thursday, January 5, 2023   

Minnesota lawmakers are back at work for a new legislative session, and changes approved last year are now being implemented, including efforts to ensure new mothers get the health care they need.

Last Sunday, a new law expanded postnatal care by requiring public and private health plans to cover a series of care visits for up to 12 weeks after a baby is delivered. Two of those visits would have to involve comprehensive care.

Rep. Ruth Richardson, DFL-Mendota Heights, was the bill's sponsor and hopes it helps address the maternal mortality crisis.

"What we know about these deaths is that 80% of them are preventable," Richardson emphasized. "This is a step in the right direction to ensure that when people are in need of support that they can get it."

The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed countries. In states such as Minnesota, the rates are higher for women of color.

A recent state health department report noted Black Minnesotans represent 13% of the birthing population but make up 23% of pregnancy-associated deaths. The disparities also exist within the infant mortality rate.

Richardson argued by expanding access to coverage in the weeks after the delivery date, there's hope for a better outcome for both the mother and child.

"It's part of that comprehensive visit," Richardson explained. "It will include things related to the infant's care; their feeding and other things as well."

Richardson acknowledged there is more work to do to close existing gaps. She pointed out another solution should involve expanding the scope of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which could enhance prevention efforts.

Separately, Minnesota last year joined the list of states to extend postpartum coverage for 12 months to those enrolled in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program. The option stemmed from provisions under the American Rescue Plan.


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