State Representatives Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) released the following statements today in reaction to news that the Kasich administration has reversed course and will restore Medicaid coverage in the budget for low-income pregnant women.
“I am glad to know that the administration is finally waking up to the fact that Ohio’s infant mortality rate is indeed a public health crisis. I don’t know why the state ever pursued such misguided public policy in the first place, but I am pleased that the governor has done an about-face and now supports access to healthcare for expectant mothers,” said Sykes. “Restoring coverage for low-income pregnant women will help ensure babies are born happy and healthy and survive to see their first birthday.”
“Access to prenatal healthcare is one of the most important factors in the delivery of a healthy baby,” said Ramos. “The original state budget would have stripped this access away from those who need it most – pregnant, working mothers-to-be. I hope today’s news means the Governor is finally willing to begin addressing Ohio’s unacceptably high infant mortality rate.”
The executive budget initially introduced by the governor eliminated family planning, prenatal care and health and wellness coverage for pregnant women making between $21,708 and $31,460—up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Despite declaring Ohio’s infant morality rate a public health crisis through the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 12 last month, House Republicans chose not to restore the access to healthcare coverage in the House-passed version of the state budget.
Ohio leads the nation in African American infant deaths and is third highest in infant deaths in the nation.