HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – An Alabama State Representative is fighting to get a bill passed that will allow new moms to stay insured longer.

The legislation aims to expand Medicaid coverage from 60 days to up to a year after giving birth. The postpartum mortality rate for women after birth has increased dramatically in that state of Alabama, mainly as a result of a lack of Medicaid coverage.

“I was seven months postpartum when my postpartum depression came on,” Jane Adams of Alabama Arise told News 19.

Adams says that after she gave birth, her postpartum issues lasted close to a year. Regular doctor visits she says were the key. 

“My ability to have access to health insurance probably, like, kept me functioning,” she explained. 

Some women in the state have not been as fortunate. The lack of access to health care has contributed to the highest mortality rate in recent memory for women after childbirth, according to the Alabama Maternal Mortality Review Committee.

Under current law, Alabama Medicaid coverage for eligible mothers ends just 60 days after delivery.

“Women sometimes will have strokes or have issues and pains that they are not able to get addressed,” said State Representative Laura Hall (D-Huntsville).

Hall has sponsored legislation that would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months. She is urging lawmakers to fund this coverage extension in the general fund budget. 

“It’s started as a pilot program but I’m a strong believer that once it’s a line item in the budget, we can keep it because we are going to see the benefits and the worth of having the extension of medical for women who’ve had children longer than 60 days,” Hall explains.  

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, nearly 70% of Alabama’s pregnancy-related deaths were preventable. 

“Those cardiovascular conditions that contribute to so many of the deaths of new moms in Alabama, those were issues that were exacerbated by pregnancy. They were already there and making sure that women have quality health insurance before, during and after pregnancy is really the only way our state is going to end maternal death,” added Adams. 

Hall says there is a common recognition from both democrats and republicans for this bill. Both agree that the death rate is just too high. Alabama Arise revealed that most of the mortality increase lies in deaths were of minority women.