Health care — moms can’t wait


Mothers cannot wait — this has been our ongoing message for years as we urged Congress to increase Medicaid protection for pregnant people to 12 months postpartum to assist tackle the nation’s maternal mortality disaster. This disaster is grave and disproportionately impacts Black and Brown moms. 

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic is additional exposing inequities confronted by individuals of colour and has a excessive probability of exacerbating poor maternal well being outcomes for pregnant individuals throughout the nation. Current information from the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) recommend that pregnant persons are at a considerably increased danger of extreme outcomes, together with loss of life, from COVID-19 than non-pregnant individuals. 

Final week, the Home Committee on Vitality and Commerce proposed quick monitoring a bipartisan coverage to increase Medicaid protection to 12 months after the top of being pregnant as a part of the following COVID-19 aid bundle. This laws would streamline the method for states to implement a coverage that’s foundational to their ongoing efforts to finish preventable maternal deaths.

In 2020, the Home of Representatives made vital progress in advancing related laws to incentivize states to implement this extension, passing it unanimously in September. Sadly, regardless of vital bipartisan assist and continued consideration on the maternal mortality disaster, this vital coverage was not enacted. We’re thrilled to see the Home as soon as once more prioritizing this life-saving coverage, this time with excessive chance of enactment by way of the quick observe reconciliation course of. Enactment of this coverage might imply the distinction between life and loss of life.

In accordance with the CDC, one in three pregnancy-related deaths happen between one week and one yr after the top of being pregnant; this doesn’t embrace deaths associated to causes reminiscent of suicide and overdose, that are additionally drivers of maternal deaths in a rising variety of states. Beneath the present statute, postpartum people coated by Medicaid lose their protection 60 days after the top of being pregnant, leaving them uninsured and with out entry to care to deal with plenty of persistent circumstances, together with coronary heart illness. 

The Medicaid program coated 43 % of U.S. births in 2018 and amongst demographic teams hit hardest by the maternal mortality disaster the quantity exceeds 60 %. We should be certain that all people whose pregnancies are coated by Medicaid can preserve their complete protection for not less than 12 months postpartum. Doing so would save lives and is a vital step in addressing racial inequities in maternal well being outcomes. 

Extending Medicaid protection past 60 days after giving start is a number one advice of state maternal mortality evaluate committees and has been endorsed by greater than 275 nationwide and state-based organizations. Maternal well being specialists in a various record of states, from Alabama to Minnesota to Texas have highlighted this coverage as one answer amongst many to curb preventable maternal deaths. 

The continued COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the necessity for Congress to behave with urgency to finish its unfinished enterprise and make investments on this evidence-based coverage that won’t solely enhance maternal well being outcomes however assist remove present racial well being inequities. Offering girls with entry to the care they want is a significant step towards that objective. 

The maternal well being disaster is a matter the place policymakers on each side of the aisle have and will proceed to return collectively to work towards options. Extending protection for brand new moms ensures they will entry the care they want throughout the first yr of their child’s life, bettering each maternal and toddler well being. Our organizations know that that is solely a primary step and that extra must be completed to advertise wholesome outcomes for all moms and infants. 

We look ahead to working with Congress to advance maternal well being by way of extra laws constructing on this vital extension of protection. Maternal mortality impacts us all and policymakers should reply swiftly and decisively.

The time has come to fulfill the second. Mothers can’t wait.

Eva Chalas, MD, FACOG, FACS, is the president of the American Faculty of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, is president of the American Faculty of Physicians (ACP) and a major care internist in Georgia. Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP, is the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).




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