IL- After legalizing midwives, Illinois lawmakers look to cover the service with Medicaid

MM Curator summary

[ MM Curator Summary]: Illinois program officials believe midwives will address poor maternal outcomes.


The article below has been highlighted and summarized by our research team. It is provided here for member convenience as part of our Curator service.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — Springfield lawmakers want to expand Medicaid to cover in-home birthing services.

A bill that has already passed in the House would expand Medicaid coverage for midwife services. The voucher program would include coverage for home birth services, in-home prenatal care, and postpartum services from certified professional midwives.

In December, Gov. JB Pritzker, D-Illinois, signed a law that allows for the professional regulation of midwives in Illinois, a practice that had been illegal in the state since 1992.

Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, is a chief sponsor of the Medicaid bill and says it aims to address major healthcare disparities experienced amongst Black women.

“In 2018, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported that Black women were six times as likely to die from pregnancy related conditions when compared to white women,” Flowers said.

The same IDPH report found that 72% of pregnancy-related deaths and 93% of violent pregnancy-associated deaths in Illinois were preventable.

Between 2016 and 2017, IDPH also reported that Black women had the highest level of severe maternal morbidity, with a rate of 101.5 per 10,0000 deliveries. The statistic is almost three times the maternal morbidity rate for white women.

The Medicaid legislation directs the Task Force on Infant and Maternal Mortality Among African Americans to “partner with Holistic Birth Collective to advise the Department of Healthcare and Family Services on the development of a Medicaid voucher program.”

If the bill becomes law, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services must apply for the Medicaid coverage change by Dec. 31, 2022.

Illinois is the 36th state to legalize the practice of midwifery.


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