Doula Medicaid Project

About the Doula Medicaid Project

The National Health Law Program’s Doula Medicaid Project seeks to improve health outcomes for pregnant Medicaid enrollees by ensuring that all pregnant individuals enrolled in Medicaid who want access to a doula, will have one.

Low-income women are at the highest risk of poor birth outcomes in the United States, and women of color, especially Black women, are especially vulnerable. Doula care is among the most promising approaches to combating disparities in maternal health. Women receiving doula care have been found to have improved health outcomes for both themselves and their infants, including higher breastfeeding initiation rates, fewer low-birth weight babies, and lower rates of cesarean sections. Doulas can also help reduce the impacts of racism and racial bias in health care on pregnant women of color by providing individually tailored, culturally appropriate, and patient centered care and advocacy.

We are lawyers, researchers, and policy advocates. We are not doulas. As such, we seek to do all our work in partnership with and with the guidance of community doula groups, doula collectives, and individual doulas, especially Black doulas and Black-led doula groups, as well as doulas and doula groups serving low-income clients.

To achieve the goal of Medicaid coverage of doula care, we are engaged in advocacy work on various fronts, including:

  • Working with doulas and other stakeholders to identify and overcome barriers to creating a sustainable and equitable Medicaid coverage of doula care program;
  • Educating legislators and other stakeholders about the importance of expanding full-spectrum Medicaid coverage of doula care, including doula support for prenatal care, labor/delivery, postpartum care, miscarriage management, and abortion;
  • Information gathering and sharing with states around the country who have proposed legislation relating to Medicaid coverage of doula care; and
  • Advocating for state legislation creating a Medicaid coverage of doula care program, initially in California and then promoted as a model strategy in other states.

If you have any questions or comments, would like more information, and/or would like to partner with us in this work, please contact NHeLP Senior Staff Attorney Amy Chen at chen@healthlaw.org.

2019 State Bills Relating To Medicaid Coverage of Doula Care

The National Health Law Program is currently tracking state legislation relating to Medicaid coverage of doula care that has been introduced during the current legislative session. We have compiled our information into the chart below, which we hope will be a helpful resource for doulas, advocates, researchers, legislators, and other stakeholders working on this issue. We are doing our best to update this chart on a regular basis. If you have any corrections, comments, or questions about this chart, please contact NHeLP Policy Fellow Alexis Robles at robles@healthlaw.org.

STATEBILL NUMBERTITLE OF BILLAUTHOR or PRIMARY SPONSORDESCRIPTIONSTATUSLAST DATE UPDATED
ArizonaHB2605Doulas; voluntary certificationRep. Kelly Townsend Assigned to House Rules Committee2/12/2019
ConnecticutSB 1078An Act Concerning Doula Certification and Medicaid Reimbursement for Doula ServicesSen. Martin Looney, Sen. Robyn PorterFavorable Report, Tabled for the Calendar Year4/23/2019
IllinoisSB 1909
Health Pregnancy/PostpartumSen. Cristina Castro Assigned to Appropriations- Human Services Committee4/30/2019
IndianaSB 416
Medicaid Coverage for doula services. Provides that Medicaid pregnancy services may include reimbursement for doula servicesSen. Jean Breaux, Sen. Ed Charboneneau, Sen. Jean Leising, et al.Passed4/18/2019
MassachusettsHB 1182
An Act relative to Medicaid coverage for doula services.Rep. Liz Miranda, Rep. Lindsay SabadosaHouse Discharged to Committee on Public Health. Senate concurred4/4/2019
New JerseyAB 4932
Establishes perinatal episode of care pilot program in MedicaidRep. Gabriela Mosquera, Rep. Adam Taliaferro, Rep. Daniel Benson, et al.Substituted by SB 33653/25/2019
New JerseySB 3365
Establishes perinatal episode of care pilot program in MedicaidSen. Nellie Pou, Sen. Joseph Cryan, Rep. Gabriella Mosquera, et al. Passed 5/8/2019
New JerseySB 1784
Provides Medicaid Coverage for Doula CareSen. Loretta Weinberg, Sen. Nia Gill, Rep. Eliana Marin, et al.Passed 5/8/2019
New YorkA 04408
Includes doulas as medical services providers for Medicaid recipientsAssemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages Referred to Health2/4/2019
New YorkS 3344
Relates to the professional certification of doulasSen. Jessica RamosOn Floor Calendar4/30/2019
Rhode IslandSB 678

Medical Assistance: Perinatal Doula ServicesSen. Ana Quezada, Sen. Bridget Valverde, Sen. Melissa Murray, et al.Committee recommended measure be held for further study4/25/2019
TexasHB 4301

Relating to Medicaid coverage of doula services.Rep. Armando WalleReferred to Human Services3/25/2019
VermontH 219
An act relating to Medicaid coverage for doula servicesRep. Diana Gonzalez
Rep. Barbara Rachelson
Referred to the Committee on Health Care2/13/2019
WashingtonWA State Health Care Authority Budget ItemCode Title: Doula Services
Program Title: Maternity Support Services Program
Jim Smith11/1/2018

National Health Law Program Resources

California

National