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Carter, Bishop introduce bill to improve maternal and child health care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) and Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) today introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Healthy Moms and Babies Act to combat the United States’ maternal mortality crisis, modernize the health care system, and improve health outcomes for women and children.

Healthy Moms and Babies Act improves maternal and child health by 
increasing services, supports, and access to high-quality coordinated care, supporting women and babies with 21st-century technology, such as telehealth, and taking additional steps to reduce the maternal mortality rate, including “whole person” care, stillbirth prevention, and improving our understanding of social determinants of health in pregnant and postpartum women.

“Improving health outcomes for all patients, especially mothers, has been my mission since day one in Congress. Our country’s maternal mortality crisis, which severely impacts Georgians, is alarming and preventable. That’s why I’m proud to partner with my House and Senate colleagues on this important bill so that women and children have the best health outcomes our nation can provide. We value women, we value life, and this bipartisan bill prioritizes both,”
said Rep. Carter.

“It is a tragedy that, with all of our country’s resources, the United States still has a maternal mortality rate more than twice that of other developed nations,” 
said Rep. Bishop. “The mortality rate is especially high for women of color and women living in rural areas. The Healthy Moms and Babies Act will go a long way towards improving maternal and child health as well as reducing racial and geographic disparities in health care.”

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

“We must do a better job at supporting pregnant moms and their babies,” 
Sen. Grassley said. “The bipartisan, bicameral Healthy Moms and Babies Act will enable high-quality coordinated care to our most vulnerable moms. Through 21st-century technology and community-based efforts, we can prevent maternal mortality and high-risk pregnancies – regardless of a mom’s zip code or economic background. As a strong supporter of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program and stillbirth prevention efforts, I’ll continue working with my colleagues to help expectant families.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 80 percent of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, with the State of Georgia’s Department of Public Health reporting 30 deaths per 100,000 live births, one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the nation. For women of color and people in living in rural communities, those numbers are much higher.

“GHA applauds Congressmen Carter and Bishop on their efforts to address maternal mortality through the 
Healthy Moms and Babies Act. We are confident that this Act will create meaningful partnerships, provide helpful data to stakeholders, and positively impact health outcomes for women and babies. GHA looks forward to our continued partnership with both Congressmen as we work together to improve health care for Georgians,” said Anna Adams, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Georgia Hospital Association.

"Maternal mortality and morbidity is on the rise which is completely unacceptable in a country so rich in technology, resources, and commitment to health. The Healthy Moms and Babies Act is important legislation to help bring all stakeholders together to make a difference that saves lives. With practicing physicians working closely with other stakeholders in the community, in the hospitals, in the health plans, and other organizations, this bill can be the glue that brings us all together and makes a difference. We applaud Congressman Carter for leading this work to ensure that moms and babies get the care and support they need to lead long and healthy lives,”
said Jack Feltz, MD, President, and Krista Stock, Executive Director, U.S. Women’s Health Alliance.

Read the full bill text here