Sens. Carney, Brenner sponsor bills to protect and support young families in Maine
AUGUSTA — On Wednesday, Sen. Anne Carney, D-Cape Elizabeth, introduced two bills to help support and protect young families in Maine. LD 372, “An Act To Provide Maine Children Access to Affordable Health Care,” and LD 265, “An Act To Provide Women Access to Affordable Postpartum Care,” were the subject of public hearings before the Legislature’s Committee on Health and Human Services.
“Starting and raising a family can be a daunting task in the best of times. When parents are facing financial hardships, the problems and concerns just compound,” said Sen. Carney. “It’s my hope that these two bills will help ease some of the burden on Maine families as they do all they can to keep themselves and their children healthy.”
LD 372 would make several changes to the Cub Care program, also known as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Those changes include expanding the maximum eligibility level for family income from 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 300 percent of the federal poverty level; eliminating the three-month waiting period for enrollment after the loss of employer-based coverage; expanding coverage through ages 19 and 20; and eliminating premium payments.
LD 265 would extend the period of time after giving birth that a mother may be eligible for services under MaineCare from 60 days to 12 months. The bill also directs the Department of Health and Human Services to submit a waiver or state plan amendment request to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to implement this change.
“Between the lack of sleep, the pediatric visits, the immunization schedule and a plan for how to go back to work and afford childcare, the last thing a new mom is considering is herself. She has embarked on the phase of life which includes knowing selfless love, and for many this means their own health care comes last,” said Sen. Stacy Brenner, D-Scarborough, a nurse-midwife who is a co-sponsor of LD 265. “Missing the postpartum follow-up visit could mean a missed opportunity for a woman to connect with her nurse-midwife to set up long term follow up for high blood pressure, diabetes or a debilitating depression. Long term, this can have grave impacts on child development. A well cared for, healthy mother will parent better and arrive each day and night with more agency to care for her family.”
LD 372 and LD 265 face further action in committee.