Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler applauded the advancement of two bipartisan bills she’s co-sponsoring to improve maternal health care and reduce maternal mortality rates. The bills, which were approved by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee this week, build upon Herrera Beutler’s bipartisan Preventing Maternal Deaths Act that was signed into law last year.
“I’m pleased to see an increasing number of my colleagues get behind bipartisan legislation to tackle the maternal mortality crisis from all sides, including these two bills focused on supporting mothers who have encountered economic hardship, and those who live in rural areas,” Herrera Beutler said. “The progress of these solutions is encouraging, and I’ll continue to advocate for congressional action that saves more mothers’ lives in Southwest Washington and across the country.”
The first is the bipartisan Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act of 2019, H.R. 4995, which takes significant steps to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity by increasing access to health services for women in rural areas, expanding tele health grants to include maternal health providers, and improving the quality of care and training for maternal health providers to improve birth outcomes and save lives during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.
H.R. 4995 also creates a grant program to establish rural obstetric networks aimed at improving birth outcomes and reducing maternal mortality for Native American and Alaskan Inuit populations, two minority groups who face a higher rate of maternal deaths.
The second bill to address the nation’s maternal health crisis is the bipartisan Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services (MOMS) Act of 2019, which passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee last week.
Today, more than half of new moms are covered by Medicaid when they give birth but lose Medicaid coverage just 60 days postpartum. There is clear data showing 70 percent of new moms will have at least one health complication within a year of giving birth.
The bipartisan Helping MOMS Act would incentivize states to extend Medicaid coverage for new moms up to one year after giving birth, or through the entire postpartum period. The measure would provide a 5 percent enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentages (FMAP) to incentivize extension. Just four states (CA, NJ, SC and MO) and the District of Columbia have extended Medicaid for new moms for an entire year.
The next step for both bills will be a vote by the full U.S. House of Representatives.