Muzzall maternity-support bills approved by Senate

House already taking action on lowering costs for maternal care

OLYMPIA… The state Senate has now approved the final piece of legislation sponsored by Sen. Ron Muzzall focused on improving maternal supports. Part of a package, Senate Bill 5581 was approved in late February and is awaiting a public hearing in the House of Representatives. Today, the body unanimously approved Senate Bill 5580, which would direct the state Health Care Authority to support extended post-delivery hospital care for women struggling with substance-use disorders.

Senate Bill 5581 would require the state insurance commissioner to work with health care providers toward strategies to lower if not eliminate deductibles for maternal-support services and postpartum care.

“Motherhood is a beautiful thing but sometimes the support they need isn’t there and the costs associated with childbirth make a challenging life event even more so,” Muzzall said. “For low-income women and women struggling with addiction who choose life, I want the state to be there with services, support and compassion.”

Under Muzzall’s proposal, the services for pregnant and postpartum women are expanded to those up to 210% of the federal poverty level. It also directs the state Health Care Authority to create a post-delivery program transitional program for women with substance use disorder at the time of delivery allowing for extended post-delivery hospital care.

Muzzall argues, “Giving birth is life changing, and if there is a chance these mothers can get clean, we should utilize the hospital care to treat them and help break that addiction for their new baby. We also need HCA to look at outcomes for these newborns and their moms.”

By January 2025, the HCA is directed update its Maternity Support Services program by collecting data, updating screening tools, and evaluations aimed at healthier birth outcomes.