Governor signs Kolkhorst bill extending maternal health care

   Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday signed HB 133, a bill sponsored and passed by Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) to increase Medicaid coverage for new mothers in Texas from two months to six months postpartum.  
   Kolkhorst said that expanding new post-pregnancy maternal care is a pressing need for qualifying Texas women and serves as an efficient and effective use of state and federal dollars. 
   "HB 133 will extend Medicaid coverage for pregnant women on Medicaid from 60 days to 6 months post-pregnancy," said Abbott. 
   "It will also streamline women’s health programs & create better continuity of care for Texas women."
   "With this legislation, Texas becomes one of the first states in the nation to extend Medicaid coverage beyond two months federally required for postpartum," said Kolkhorst, who chairs the Senate's Health and Human Services Committee. 
  "That's why I was proud to pass this bi-partisan effort to help keep Texas moms healthy and provide the care needed to avoid preventable deaths and illnesses."
  As passed, HB 133 specifically seeks to improve maternal health by providing six months of Medicaid coverage following the date a woman delivers or experiences an involuntary miscarriage.
   The bill also requires the Health and Human Services Commission to contract with managed care organizations to provide continuity of care for individuals in the Healthy Texas Women programs, to ensure better health outcomes over time.
   "In 2019, the Texas Legislature passed Healthy Texas Women Plus (SB 750) that I authored, which is a state-funded program that will cover for 12 months longer-term issues like depression, mental health conditions, cardiovascular and coronary conditions as well as substance use disorders," explained Kolkhorst. 
   "HB 133 will allow women to maintain their same doctors and seamlessly transition between the programs." 

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