We Urge TX Senate to Pass HB 12 Without Amendments

The Texas Senate is preparing to consider HB 12, extending new moms’ health coverage to 12 months. We strongly urge Senators to support it. We are very grateful to Chair Lois Kolkhorst for championing the bill in the Senate and Rep. Toni Rose for her leadership on the bill in the House. 

The bill will allow mothers to keep their Medicaid health insurance for 12 months after their pregnancy so they can continue to see their medical provider, take their medications, and receive the medical care they need during this critical time for their health and their baby’s health. 

Any amendments to HB 12 would force Texas to request a Medicaid Waiver and run the risk of leaving Texas right where we started. As Chair Kolkhorst explained during the Senate hearing on HB 12, the bill language from last session required a Waiver that has not been approved. Waivers typically take a long time to negotiate and approve, if they are approved at all. Fortunately, the House version of HB 12 that passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee does not require a Waiver. It allows Texas to seek fast-track approval through a Medicaid “State Plan Amendment” (SPA) and quickly implement 12-month coverage because the bill language follows the standard Medicaid postpartum coverage policy implemented in other states. There is greater urgency to quickly implement the bill now that pandemic-era Medicaid rules are ending and Texas is reinstating the policy of removing moms from their health coverage two months after their pregnancy.

If HB 12 does not pass — or if HB 12 passes and is not implemented — many Texas women will become uninsured and lose their health care just two months after their pregnancy.

Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Republican Party platform, Texas Democratic Party platform, the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee, and more than 170 Texas groups have all called for extending Texas moms’ health coverage to 12 months after pregnancy. The bill passed the House 132-8 and passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee 8-0.

A total of 38 states — including Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and other red states — have now approved policies to extend moms’ health coverage to a full year postpartum.