Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed SB 2518, a bill that would extend Medicaid coverage to pregnant women until a year after the baby has been delivered. Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R) prioritized the bill, praising it as well for receiving bipartisan support. DeSantis signed the bill, arguing that it “took the lead to cover postpartum moms” and to provide postpartum care for those that need it the most.
Because federal rules only provide mothers with two months of insurance, the Governor signed the extension and credited the Legislature with accurately responding to the postpartum health care effort in the state. With this legislation, mothers and babies are expected to receive better care and services according to the Governor’s budget overview.
“For the first time since 1976, this Legislature took the lead to cover postpartum moms after they give birth to make sure that they’re healthy and extended that coverage from two to 12 months,” Sprowls explained.
The extension will not only benefit mothers that are below 185% of the most recent federal poverty level, but it will also cost Florida less than half of the $240 million that it’s estimated to cost. Florida will provide $89 million while the rest will be covered from federal Medicaid matching dollars.
In March, Sprowls had announced the plan to provide better care for mothers and babies.
“If we’re going to be truly committed to mothers and the health of their children in the long term, it needs to be signaled in both word and deed that this is a longterm commitment, and that’s what we’re going to do in the Medicaid Conforming Bill,” expressed Sprowls.
Florida Democrats championed the decision, calling it an example of a progressive effort.
State Senator Lauren Book (D) commented that “by extending critical postpartum care and providing access to milk bank services, we can get these moms and their babies off to a healthy start, reduce future reliance on services, and improve outcomes across the lifespan.”