Postpartum Medicaid Extended, 60 days to 12 Months

Jackson, MISS – “Strong babies come from strong moms.” MS Black Women’s Roundtable and our partners said it over and over.  We are, therefore, proud that our voices were heard, Mississippi legislators listened, and that our state has demonstrated a commitment to strong babies by supporting healthy moms, a proven factor in protecting the strength of babies.  MSBWR is pleased that as a result of our advocacy efforts, alongside the efforts of our partners, on March 16th, Governor Tate Reeves signed into law the extension of postpartum Medicaid.

“The bond between a baby and a mom is worth protecting,” Cassandra Welchlin, Executive Director of MSBWR, stated.  “This law will improve the healthcare, longevity, and quality of life for the women, children, and residents. For women, especially Black women with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates, care for pregnant people and postpartum is crucial for their overall health.” In Mississippi, 86% of maternal deaths occur after the baby is born. This law allows Mississippi to catch up with our neighboring states to cover health visits for moms during the first year of their baby’s life. “By offering a bipartisan solution to Mississippi’s infant and maternal morbidity crisis, a diverse collective of Mississippi health advocates successfully bridged the disconnect in Mississippi between overwhelming public opinion and a Medicaid policy driven by ideology,” said Roy Mitchell, Executive Director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program.

Providing one year of postpartum care allows a thorough assessment of the childbearing parent and infant. It gives the mom more time to heal under medical care and the baby more professional monitoring during some of the most substantial early learning periods. This healthcare prioritizes the overall health of women, parents, and their children, thus benefiting entire families.  It means more support for all, especially those moms recovering from complicated pregnancies and infants born with expected and unexpected deficiencies and parents working to provide basic needs for their families.  Moms will not be prematurely forced to return to work because her employer-provided insurance does not cover the family after the traditional 6-8 weeks of leave.  Because of this new law, women will still have access to healthcare.

“The Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable (MSBWR) would like to thank all our partners that made this victory possible. To everyone who called state officials, advocated at the Capitol, and signed petitions, the MSBWR will never forget your countless hours and effort. You helped bring attention to women, parents, children, and Mississippians. Thankfully, all our efforts have paid off, and our state will be a healthier and happier place for it,” said Cassandra Welchlin, MSBWR Executive Director. And our work is not done. We know there is still much to do to improve women’s economic security in our state. MSBWR and its partners will continue to fight for fair policies that help strengthen the economic state of Mississipi women. 

Contact: Ayana Kinnel, 769-226-3725


Year of Medicaid For New Moms Heads to Mississippi Governor’s Desk

JACKSON, Miss.—Paheadra Robinson shed tears in the Mississippi Capitol rotunda Tuesday afternoon when she learned that the Mississippi House had finally sent a bill to the governor’s desk that will give new mothers Medicaid for up to 12 months after giving birth—well beyond the state’s current 60-day limit on postpartum coverage.


Black maternal deaths and disparities increase in Mississippi

Excerpt from NBC News – The Mississippi Maternal Mortality Report shows that the maternal mortality rate increased by 8.8% between 2013‐2016 and 2017‐2019, with the latter period being the most recent one analyzed by researchers.

Black, non-Hispanic women had a rate four times higher than white, non-Hispanic women, according to a report released Thursday by the state’s Department of Health.

The grim figures arrive as the state is expecting more births each year as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which had established a nationwide constitutional protection for abortion. The court used a Mississippi case to overturn the case, a legal effort the state’s leaders have lauded.

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A coalition of Mississippi advocates is calling for Strong Babies and Healthy Mothers

Excerpt from MPB – Among the coalition of activists calling on the legislature to extend postpartum Medicaid is Cassandra Welchlin, Executive Director of the Mississippi Black Women’s Round Table. She says postpartum care isn’t just an issue that would affect mothers.

Welchlin says, “It’s a family issue, it’s a community issue, it’s a state issue. Because all the benefits that we know exist and all the roles that a mom and a woman plays. So it’s just going to be huge. And it’s going to lower the maternal mortality rate, which is what we’re trying to do.”

Mississippi has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the nation.


MS Maternal Mortality Report

JACKSON, Miss. — The latest Mississippi Maternal Mortality Report, released today, shines a glaring light on even greater disparities between white and black outcomes for new mothers.

The Mississippi Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) is statutorily tasked with investigating maternal deaths to identify opportunities for improvement and make recommendations for preventing future deaths.
For the 2017- 2019 reporting period key findings of the 93 deaths include:
    •    43 percent of maternal deaths were directly related to pregnancy. 87.5 percent were determined to be preventable, and 57.5 percent occurred during pregnancy or within 60 days after delivery;
    •    Black, non-Hispanic women had a maternal mortality rate four times higher than White, non-Hispanic women; and
    •    Most maternal deaths among Black, non-Hispanic mothers were attributed to cardiovascular conditions and cardiomyopathy (a weakening of the heart muscle).
The report also includes recommendations to policy makers, including ensuring that insurance coverage exists before pregnancy, and extends beyond the 60 day postpartum period (now in place) to one year.
State Health Officer Dr. Dan Edney continues to advocate for access to care for all Mississippians.
“It is imperative that we take care of our most vulnerable populations now. This is the only way we can move Mississippi’s health status off the bottom of the chart. Access to healthy environments and healthy foods can and will reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure – all conditions that lead to cardiovascular disease,” said Edney.
The report also includes recommendations for hospitals, providers and expectant mothers.
The Mississippi State Department of Health includes programs such as WIC, Family Planning and Reproductive Services, Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, Early Intervention, Genetic Services, Healthy Moms/Healthy Babies, Safe Sleep, and Breast and Cervical Cancer, all to ensure the safety of both mothers and infants.
The report can be found at
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Press Contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
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The Pulse: Cassandra Welchlin

Excerpt from MS Today–Cassandra Welchlin, executive director of the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, and Mississippi Today health reporter Will Stribling discuss the roundtable’s Mississippi Voices project. The project is seeking to elevate the experiences of Black women and girls who face barriers to accessing health care by collecting and sharing their stories.


Water in this US city is so dirty, boiling it doesn’t make it usable

Excerpt from CNN–Cassandra Welchlin, a resident and social worker in Jackson, Mississippi, says that the water in Jackson is so dirty that even though she boils it, she will not use it for cooking, bathing, or brushing her kid’s teeth.