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Data and Collective Advocacy Help Make the Case to Extend Postpartum Medicaid Coverage in Michigan

In 2020, Michigan Governor Whitmer introduced the “Healthy Moms Healthy Babies” plan, which included a range of proposals to battle maternal and infant mortality through Medicaid coverage. After two years of strong collective advocacy efforts, Alliance allies at the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health (MCMCH) championed the plan that purposefully worked to address disparities by extending Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months postpartum.

To win over more lawmakers, MCMCH turned to data to make their case and, ultimately, pass the postpartum Medicaid extension budget item with bipartisan support. MCMCH and their partners at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) created an infographic based on state data from the Michigan Maternal Mortality Surveillance Program and the KIDS COUNT data center that helped lawmakers from across the state understand how the Medicaid extension would benefit their constituents – rural and urban alike.

MCMCH activated their network of more than 900 multiple times: first to pass and keep the item in the budget, then to ensure that the SPA submitted to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was crafted with community and provider feedback. Dr. Rosalyn Maben-Feaster, who represents ACOG on the MCMCH board of directors and is an associate professor and practicing OB-GYN at the University of Michigan Medicine, shared, “This expansion is essential because it helps to close gaps in access for recently pregnant people and will serve to equalize current inequities in birth outcomes. This is a big win for the state of Michigan.”

In April, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a federal agency, announced approval of Michigan’s plan to extend Medicaid pregnancy-related coverage to 12 months postpartum, retroactive to April 1, 2022. Michigan is the 5th state to successfully advocate at the state level and have their request receive federal approval to extend postpartum coverage. In addition to the collective advocacy efforts, this was made possible due to state investment with support from the American Rescue Plan. Since Medicaid covers 44% of births in Michigan, this extension will be impactful for new parents across the state.

“We are grateful Governor Whitmer and our legislature came together to extend coverage because we know it will save lives. Engaging with communities, providers and our partners, we will continue to advocate for policy changes that improve outcomes for moms and babies.”

Amy Zaagman, Executive Director
Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health (MCMCH)