Medicaid Coverage for Childbirth

Published on February 8th, 2021

Memorandum of Support

A3386 Cook/S916 Sanders
In relation to Medicaid coverage for childbirth

The above-referenced legislation would establish mandatory Medicaid coverage for hospital stays for maternity patients and their newborn babies. The New York State Catholic Conference supports this bill and urges favorable committee action.

This legislation would establish required Medicaid coverage for a mother’s hospital stay of at least 48 hours following a natural delivery and 96 hours following a cesarean birth. The Catholic Conference was proud to support Chapter 56 of the Laws of 1996 which requires the same mandatory minimum periods of coverage by private health insurers and HMOs.

The option to remain in the hospital for a minimum of 48 hours following natural childbirth can be essential for monitoring the mom’s condition, treating any complications, and noting any possible conditions in the newborn, some of which may not appear in the first 24 hours following birth. Following a C-section, additional monitoring is necessary to ensure mothers are able to eat, drink, walk and go to the bathroom.

Social justice and Catholic teaching require that we keep the poor and the vulnerable as a priority in our actions and our policies. We believe that to deny low-income moms dependent on the Medicaid system the same essential benefits afforded to mothers with private insurance is simply unjust. This legislation would right that wrong, and we urge its enactment.