Pressley, Booker Reintroducing the MOTHER Act to address maternal health disparities

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) reintroduced the Maximizing Outcomes for Mothers Through Improving and Enhancing Services (MOMMIES) Act ) of Medicaid in an effort to address consistent disparities in maternal health by race and Mortality.

The bill, originally introduced by two lawmakers in 2019, would promote more affordable health care for pregnant people by expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage to a full year instead of 60 days after birth and expands Medicaid coverage for pregnant women to services outside of maternity-related services.

The goal of this law is to help limit pregnancy-related deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, more than 80% of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. Even so, black birth bearers are three times more likely to die from pregnancy problems than white women.

Members of Congress including the Black Maternal Health Caucus have been working to address these disparities for some time. The caucus was first formed in 2019 and has been working to pass a 13-bill package known as the Momnibus Act since then.

“My grandmother died in the 1950s while giving birth, and it’s damning that decades later, America’s black maternal morbidity crisis is still killing people,” Pressley said in a statement. our loved ones and destabilize our families.”

“With the Supreme Court’s cruel Dobbs decision only worsening this crisis, Congress must pass our bill to promote comprehensive, community-based approaches to maternity and postpartum care so that every pregnant person is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve during and after birth. their pregnancy,” she added, referring to the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

“Maternal health equity is a racial justice issue and a matter of survival, and we must make comprehensive, culturally appropriate reproductive care a reality for all. People.”

In addition to Medicaid services, the MOMMIES Act aims to create and invest in culturally appropriate care.

The law calls for the establishment of health care facilities, birth centers, and medical facilities in underserved communities from a racially equitable perspective and with an informed approach to injury.

The MOMMIES Act would also direct Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to issue guidance on community-based doula care.

“The United States spends more on health care than any other country, yet we still have the highest maternal mortality rate among peer countries,” Booker said.

“We must ensure that no one, regardless of background, faces inequality or disparity when accessing or receiving maternal care. This legislation is an important step toward addressing our nation’s health disparities and promoting equitable maternal health care for all.”

The legislation received support from many advocacy groups, including the Black Mamas Matter Coalition, March of Dimes and In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda.

Earlier this year, In Our Own Voice issued its 2023 Black Reproductive Justice Agenda, calling for some of these issues to be prioritized. Regina Davis Moss, president and CEO of the organization, applauded Pressley and Booker for reintroducing the bill.

“Informed by the Reproductive Justice framework, this bill is an important step toward ensuring that Black women, birth mothers, and their children can thrive during pregnancy and beyond,” Moss said. that too.

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