Harrisburg, PA − September 27, 2021 − The Co-Chairs of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus again calls on their colleagues and the citizens of Pennsylvania to support the #OptInPA Campaign, a movement to help birthing people and improve maternal health across the state with policies that would ensure families have a healthy start for newborn Pennsylvanians.
Once a Pennsylvanian is born, their new parents need to have the resources available to give the newborn a safe, healthy life that will have a successful and happy outcome. The goals of this campaign ensure just that.
The #OptInPA campaign is motivated by two goals:
- Highlighting Pennsylvania’s need for holistic, extended postpartum coverage, specifically as it pertains to families that participate in Medical Assistance;
- Gaining public support for the program to implement its permanent extension through action at Pennsylvania’s executive level.
Maternal mortality is a crisis in Pennsylvania that has been climbing over the last few years. It is driven by inequities in healthcare coverage. An estimated 1 in 10,000 women and birthing individuals, including 1 in 5,000 black birthing people are dying after childbirth. Fifty-eight percent of those deaths occurred between 42 and 365 days after delivery, beyond the standard 60 days of Medical Assistance (MA) coverage for pregnant people in Pennsylvania. In addition, 53 percent of the cases of maternal death between 2013 and 2018 affected birthing parents who were enrolled in Medical Assistance when they delivered.
This policy change can be transformative for Pennsylvania’s new parents. It is within the power of the executive branch to permanently extended this expansion, which is the ultimate goal of this campaign.
Legislators must focus on policies like #OptInPA, rather than wasting time and energy on policies which have the proven effect of increasing maternal mortality rates. Our work is done best when we are working to solve problems and improve everyone’s access to healthcare. We ask our allies in this fight to continue to voice their support for #OptInPA and other measures that will increase access to healthcare and lead to positive outcomes for Pennsylvania’s families.