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Post-Roe, Hutchinson Proposes $30 Million Medicaid Expansion for Pregnancy, Foster Care

'Hutchinson said the goal is to reduce the number of children requiring neonatal care and reduce child mortality, adding the recent reversal of Roe v. Wade will increase the number of women needing care...'

(The Center Square) – Ark. Gov. Asa Hutchinson is proposing a $30 million Medicaid expansion to cover pregnancy and foster care programs.

The Gov. said Tuesday he is asking for legislative support for several initiatives that will increase spending at the Department of Human Services and the Arkansas Department of Health.

DHS is planning to seek federal approval to extend home visitation services for high-risk pregnant women in traditional Medicaid, which would cost $18.9 million per year, with the state share being $5.5 million, according to the governor.

“This will be a part of the ongoing Medicaid budget, but it is important to put the dollars behind this expanded effort in providing enhanced maternal care,” said Hutchinson.

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“It will require rules and legislative approval for this and we look forward to those discussions.”

Hutchinson said the goal is to reduce the number of children requiring neonatal care and reduce child mortality, adding the recent reversal of Roe v. Wade will increase the number of women needing care.

“We know that there will be an increased number of at-risk pregnancies in the coming year and that is likely because we are reducing abortion in the state of [Ark.] as a result of the trigger law and the Supreme Court case,” said Hutchinson.

“And so we have already taken many steps over time to increase the opportunities for adoption, for foster care, for child welfare coverage as well, but there are some things that we want to do more.”

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DHS also wants to expand Medicaid coverage for pregnant women to cover full healthcare services, including behavioral health and care for non-pregnancy medical conditions.

“Currently the coverage is limited and they only have coverage for the child or conditions related to the pregnancy,” said Hutchinson. “It is important after birth that the mom has more complete healthcare coverage during that time as well.”

The cost of this expanded coverage is estimated to be $1.3 million with the state share being $350, according to the governor.

Furthermore, DHS is proposing increasing all board payments for foster parents by 10%, which would cost $10.2 million, Hutchinson said. The current average for monthly payments is $455 to cover food and shelter for children in foster care.

The ADH is seeking to expand home visiting programs and training for home visitors. The Gov. said he is allocating $350,000 for this purpose.

The funding for all these initiatives is contingent upon legislative approval.

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