Sykes Applauds Administration's Backtrack On Healthcare Coverage For Pregnant Women
Original budget proposal stripped access to healthcare for low-income mothers-to-be

State Representative Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) released the following statement today in reaction to news that the Kasich administration has reversed course and will restore Medicaid coverage in the budget for low-income pregnant women: 

“I am glad to know that the administration is finally waking up to the fact that Ohio’s infant mortality rate is indeed a public health crisis. I don’t know why the state ever pursued such misguided public policy in the first place, but I am pleased that the governor has done an about-face and now supports access to healthcare for expectant mothers,” said Sykes. “Restoring coverage for low-income pregnant women will help ensure babies are born happy and healthy and survive to see their first birthday.”

 The Akron lawmaker has been a vocal advocate for restoring healthcare coverage for low-income pregnant women throughout the budget process. As ranking minority member on the House Finance Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Rep. Sykes offered amendments to restore the healthcare provisions missing from the executive budget proposal; those amendments were tabled by majority members. 

The executive budget initially introduced by the governor eliminated family planning, prenatal care and health and wellness coverage for pregnant women making between $21,708 and $31,460—up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Despite declaring Ohio’s infant morality rate a public health crisis through the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 12 last month, House Republicans chose not to restore the access to healthcare coverage in the House-passed version of the state budget. 

Ohio leads the nation in African American infant deaths and is third highest in infant deaths in the nation.

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