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Last week, the state of Texas issued a long-awaited report that found at least 118 women in the state died from causes related to pregnancy in 2019. Most of those deaths were preventable. The report’s top recommendation was a familiar but often-bypassed way to reduce maternal mortality: Ensure that all people have access to health care during pregnancy and for at least a year afterward.

Congressional Democrats in Washington scrambled this month to make that a federal requirement for every state’s Medicaid program. They didn’t quite make it.


As part of a sweeping end-of-year package, Democrats struck a deal with Republicans to let states begin kicking ineligible people out of the Medicaid program in April — before a freeze linked to the public health emergency ends — as long as children now enrolled in the program were covered for a year after their circumstances change, and recent states’ moves to cover people for a year postpartum were made permanent.

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