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Advocates tout child-, maternal-health aspects of Build Back Better Act


By Suzanne Potter
This story was originally published by Public News Service

Health advocates are pressing the U.S. Senate to approve the Build Back Better Act, because it would improve Medicaid and CHIP – the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The bill, which already has passed the House, would offer 12 months of continuous coverage to children who qualify for Medicaid.

A new brief co-authored by Joan Alker – research professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and executive director of its Center for Children and Families – found that during the early Trump years, one in ten children experienced a gap in coverage over the course of 12 months.

“After we saw this troubling reverse in the progress we’d made as a country in reducing the number of uninsured kids, which came to a halt in 2017 and started going in the wrong direction,” said Alker, “the Build Back Better bill would really turn that around and start moving the country in the right direction.”

In Nevada, children in families of three earning about $45,000 a year or less are eligible for affordable health coverage through Medicaid or Nevada Checkup. Opponents say the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act is too costly.

The bill also would permanently fund CHIP, so it doesn’t have to be renewed every few years. It also makes it much easier for all states to expand eligibility for kids.

Kendall Lyons, director of health policy for the Children’s Advocacy Alliance in Nevada, said the bill also would cut down maternal mortality by extending post-partum Medicaid coverage for one year.

“The extension of post-partum coverage from 60 days, which is what it currently is in Nevada, to 12 months,” said Lyons, “would be huge for providing crucial care for people after they’ve given birth.”

Last year a report from the State of Nevada on maternal mortality found that there were 129 pregnancy-associated deaths in the Silver State from 2015 to 2019.

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