The Texas House has approved a bill that would allow low-income mothers to receive Medicaid coverage for up to a year after childbirth and six months after a miscarriage. Texas currently offers two months of postpartum Medicaid.

House Bill 12, by Rep. Toni Rose, D-Dallas, passed with bipartisan support with a 132-8 vote on April 21. Four Republican representatives switched to ‘yes’ votes after previously opposing the bill on April 20.

The bill now heads to the Texas Senate.

Expanding coverage for new mothers is a key recommendation of the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee. The committee released a 61-page report in December, which highlighted rates of maternal deaths and severe complications that are higher than the national average.

According to the committee, at least 118 Texas women died while pregnant or within one year after childbirth in 2019. The report notes that 90% of those deaths were preventable.

“This comprehensive coverage will save lives and ensure children grow up with their mothers,” Rose said on the House floor.

During the 2021 legislative session, the House approved a similar proposal, also by Rose—but the Texas Senate cut coverage to 6 months. The bill was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, but the measure is still pending approval by the federal government as it does not meet federal guidelines.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 30 states and the District of Columbia had expanded postpartum Medicaid benefits for 12 months as of March 23.

“Given all the health challenges that moms can face during that first year—including postpartum depression, cardiac arrest, infection, and extreme blood loss or hemorrhage—the Legislature should make sure moms can keep getting the medical care they need,” said Diana Forester, the director of health policy at the child advocacy nonprofit Texans Care for Children, in a statement.

In February, House Speaker Dade Phelan designated the Medicaid extension as a top priority for the current legislative session. Gov. Greg Abbott, the Republican Party of Texas, the Texas Democratic Party and over 170 Texas organizations have publicly backed the proposal.

“As I have said before, it is essential that the Texas House makes meaningful progress this year on better supporting mothers and children in the state—and that starts with extending health coverage for new moms to a full year,” Phelan said in a statement announcing some of his priorities.In March, the House passed HB 300, by Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin. The bill would make children’s diapers, baby wipes, baby bottles, feminine hygiene products, maternity clothing and breast milk pumping products exempt from the Texas sales tax.