New York lawmakers are calling for an expansion of postpartum coverage in the state's Medicaid program, increasing the period from 60 days to a full year. 

The provision was advanced this week by both chambers in the state Senate and Assembly budget proposals; a final spending plan is expected to be approved by March 31. 

Extending postpartum coverage in the Medicaid program is meant to cut down on maternal mortality rate in a state which ranks 23rd nationally. Advocates pointed to the high mortality rate especially impacting Black women. 

“New York currently ranks 23rd in the nation for its rate of maternal mortality – and these risks are even more prevalent among communities of color as Black woman are more than three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related death than white women,” said Brianna Durkee, the New York state government relations director for the American Heart Association. “Expanding the postpartum Medicaid coverage will help individuals receive the medical care they need to screen for the development of risk factors that can develop after the birth of a child.”

Expanding coverage for postpartum treatment can also cut down on cardiac issues like heart disease, hypertension and diabetes as well as depression and substance abuse, the American Heart Association said.