Our work shaping and reporting on national mental health policy is made possible through a 2023-2024 capacity grant from the Perigee Fund.

A new Federal bill was introduced last week by Democratic Senators to expand mental health access for those who are pregnant and in the postpartum. U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) have introduced the Mental Health and Making Access More Affordable (MAMA) Act. The legislation aims to remove financial barriers to mental health care and substance use disorder services for pregnant women and new mothers by eliminating cost-sharing for treatment during and after pregnancy. The bill highlights the significant need for mental health support among pregnant and postpartum women, noting that one in five women experience a mental health disorder during this period, with many not receiving the necessary care.

The MAMA Act would mandate that commercial, Federal employee health benefits, and state/local government insurance plans cover mental health and substance use disorder services with no cost-sharing, from the onset of pregnancy care until one year postpartum. It also extends existing continuity of care requirements, ensuring mothers can continue receiving care from the same providers post-pregnancy.

Additionally, the bill proposes a pilot program within the Department of Defense to establish perinatal mental health prevention programs at military treatment facilities, addressing the higher rates of mental health diagnoses among service members during the perinatal period compared to the general population​.

The legislation was championed by the National Partnership for Women & Families and endorsed at introduction by leading organizations such as The Shades of Blue Project, MMHLA and the March of Dimes. 

The bill was not developed and introduced in a bipartisan fashion (by both Democrat and Republican senators); it could be more difficult to get the buy-in of Republican senators needed to see this bill be signed into law.  The Policy Center will continue to track this bill and share updates with the field.

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