Pregnant Georgia women who earn less than double the federal poverty level
— about $34,000 for a family of two and $52,000 for four — currently qualify for two months of Medicaid coverage following the birth of their child. Women who receive the coverage often scramble to get treatment before the clock runs out, which can be particularly difficult in rural areas with few obstetricians and gynecologists.
Extending the time frame to six months would further allow women to monitor common but potentially fatal issues that arrive after a baby is born, including postpartum depression, high blood pressure and cardiac conditions.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, and supported by Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, moved swiftly through the House, passing 164-1 five days after it was introduced.
The legislation has been a “long time coming,” said Rep. “Able” Mabel Thomas, D-Atlanta. Thomas has been an advocate for extending Medicaid coverage and combating high maternal mortality rates since she learned about the issue in 2012, she said.
The bill now must be considered by the Senate.
A passenger who traveled from South Korea to Atlanta on Sunday is being screened for the illness caused by coronavirus.