Senate Dems Unveil Slate of Bills to Make Parenthood Easier in Iowa

Photo by Branislav Novak / EyeEm

By Nikoel Hytrek

January 23, 2022

Democrats in the Iowa Senate have introduced a slate of bills this session to help families in Iowa, whether by strengthening maternal health or improving child care.

Senate File 2006 would improve maternal and child health under the Medicaid program. It would require reimbursement to cover the costs of labor and delivery. It also offers the same reimbursement for maternal and fetal services and comprehensive maternity care, whether they were conducted in person or through telehealth.

According to the bill, maternity care includes prenatal and postpartum visits, nutritional assessment, health education, personal counseling, and follow-up services. It would also include conditions that might complicate a pregnancy.

The bill also covers reimbursement for breastfeeding supports such as counseling and supplies, transportation to appointments, and postpartum care products such as breast pads and pain relief.

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SF 2005 would require the Iowa Department of Human Services to create and submit a plan to offer 12 months of continuous postpartum coverage under the Medicaid program for pregnant people enrolled in Medicaid.

Current federal law gives people 60 days of Medicaid services post-pregnancy, so Senate Democrats want to expand that.

SF 2007 requires state agencies to find and use funding to expand the availability of home visit services during and after pregnancy. The visits can include mental and physical health, breastfeeding support, and social and educational services, as well as any services needed to promote healthy pregnancies and ideal growth and development for infants.

SF 2008 requires licensed hospitals to adopt and implement the best practices and safety measures laid out by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM). These safety bundles would prioritize maternal health and put into place a standardized approach for handling a variety of issues that can come up with pregnancy or delivery including hemorrhage, hypertension, and preeclampsia. It would also promote postpartum care access and standards.

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Safety bundles are also used in other fields of health care like surgery and general medicine.

SF 2013 would require doulas to be covered by Medicaid as well. Doulas are professionals who provide physical and emotional support throughout pregnancy. Though they don’t provide medical advice, they do provide assistance with pain management, information about pregnancy, help navigating the health care system, and support through the delivery process.

All of these bills are in the Senate Human Resources Committee and have been assigned to subcommittee hearings.

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Sens. Janet Petersen, Amanda Ragan, Liz Mathis, Nate Boulton, Jim Lykam, Pam Jochum, Claire Celsi, Jackie SmithKevin Kinney, Bill Dotzler, Todd Taylor, Sarah Trone Garriott, Eric Giddens, Herman Quirmbach, Joe Bolkcom, and  Zach Wahls signed on to all of them. Sen. Rob Hogg signed onto SF 2005 and SF 2006.


Nikoel Hytrek

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  • Nikoel Hytrek

    Nikoel Hytrek is Iowa Starting Line’s longest-serving reporter. She covers LGBTQ issues, abortion rights and all topics of interest to Iowans. Her biggest goal is to help connect the dots between policy and people’s real lives. If you have story ideas or tips, send them over to [email protected].

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