When it comes to Medicaid, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has supported extending coverage for women to one year after childbirth in order to reduce risk of complications, health emergencies and maternal deaths that can occur after giving birth.
Medicaid coverage typically is offered to women for up to 60 days after delivery. The House Energy and Commerce Committee in November advanced new legislation to offer incentives to states to continue Medicaid coverage for women for one year after delivery.
"This legislation would help ensure that moms receive care beyond that period for serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, postpartum depression, and opioid use, and close a huge gap in women's health coverage during a time in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show one-third of preventable maternal deaths occur," ACOG President Dr. Ted Anderson said in a written statement in November.
Now ACOG looks forward "to collaborating with all members of Congress to bring these bills to the floor of the House and Senate," he said in the statement.
The extension of Medicaid coverage for women up to one year postpartum also has been an area of research that Eliason hopes to focus on next.
"Women are losing coverage 60 days after childbirth and that is not enough health insurance access for women who recently gave birth," she said. "I'm really hoping my study can make a difference."
In 2018, the year with the most recent national data, a total of 658 women in the United States died while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of pregnancy, according to data released by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics in January.
The last time the NCHS published an official estimate of the US maternal mortality rate was more than a decade ago in 2007, which makes that new data "significant," Dr. Michael Lu, dean of the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley and former director of the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, who was not involved in the study, said in January.
The "most striking findings are the high overall mortality rate and large disparities -- nothing new, but still deeply troubling," Lu said about the CDC data.
"In 21st century America, in the richest and most powerful nation on Earth, no woman should ever die from pregnancy and childbirth: 658 deaths are 658 too many," he said. "I believe we can cut maternal mortality in half by 2025, and eradicate maternal deaths in the US by 2050, by doing three things: learn from every maternal death, assure quality and safety of maternity care for all women and improve women's health across their life course."