End-of-Year Bill Makes Strides on Health Care for Children and Pregnant People, but More Must Be Done to Make Affordable Health Care Available for All

December 20, 2022 
CONTACT: Meghan Farrell, (508) 423-5185, mfarrell@communitycatalyst.org 

End-of-Year Bill Makes Strides on Health Care for Children and Pregnant People, but More Must Be Done to Make Affordable Health Care Available for All  

(BOSTON, MA) – Today, Senate Appropriations announced an end-of-year omnibus spending package that makes health care more accessible and affordable, particularly for children and pregnant people. The bill ensures year-round, comprehensive coverage for children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and makes permanent the option for states to extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage for one year postpartum. It also makes critical investments in care for people with mental health and substance use disorders, extends funding for CHIP until 2029, allows incarcerated juveniles to receive Medicaid coverage 30 days prior to their release, and secures necessary funding for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program. The package also outlines the beginning of a process of Medicaid redeterminations beginning in April 2023. 

The package’s Medicaid postpartum coverage provisions are especially critical as we face a Black and Indigenous maternal health crisis that leaves Black and Indigenous people more thanthree and two times, respectively, more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white people. The bill also includes provisions that expand access to medicine for opioid addiction and boost prevention and early intervention for substance use and mental illness among young people. These health care services are essential to address the harm, particularly to Black and brown people and LGBTQ+ people, from the nation's addiction and mental health crises. 

Statement from Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst: 

“As families across the U.S. gather to observe end-of-year holidays, millions can celebrate better health coverage for kids and more stable Medicaid coverage for postpartum care. The spending package announced today will allow millions of children, over half of whom are Black and brown, to continue to receive critical well-child visits, vaccinations and necessary emergency care. The bill also ensures that people have better access to maternal mental health care, mental health care and addiction treatment, providing relief for millions of people, including pregnant people and new parents. Community Catalyst applauds congressional leaders for including these essential provisions in the spending package.  

“Still, the package fails to address other important health issues confronting millions of people across the country. People reentering their communities from incarceration are doing so without health care access because this bill failed to include a pathway to Medicaid coverage for adults prior to release from jail or prison. States are confronting a Medicaid redetermination process, which should be carried out in a manner that protects people against unnecessary health coverage losses. As we approach 2023, people are looking to Congress and the Biden administration to make health care more accessible and affordable for all. Community Catalyst remains committed to working with both Congress and the Biden administration in advancing health equity through a wide range of policies that respond to what communities want and need.”  


About Community Catalyst: Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for race equity and health justice. We partner with local, state and national advocates to leverage and build power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, state houses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit http://www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.

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