The Black Maternal Health “Momnibus” Package Includes Nine Bills to Comprehensively Improve Maternal Health Outcomes, Close Racial Disparities
Washington, D.C. — Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced that he joined U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and their colleagues in introducing the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, a historic legislative package to address America’s urgent maternal health crisis.
“The maternal mortality rate in this country is shameful, and it is especially devastating for black women. We have to act urgently to address this crisis,” said Bennet. “The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act will help address the harmful racial disparities in our health care system and the many barriers to care they create. We must ensure that every woman, no matter the color of their skin, has access to the comprehensive care they need and deserve.”
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act will build on existing maternal health legislation by filling gaps in care through nine bills to comprehensively address the black maternal health crisis. The Black Maternal Health Momnibus makes investments in social determinants of health, community organizations, the growth and diversification of the perinatal workforce, improvements in data collection and quality measures, digital tools like telehealth, and innovative payment models. The Momnibus focuses on high-risk populations, including women veterans, incarcerated women, and Native Americans.
The United States has the worst maternal mortality rate among developed countries and it continues to rise. The maternal mortality rate is significantly higher among black women, who are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications. Black women also experience higher rates of maternal complications and infant mortality, and are twice as likely to lose an infant to premature death. These disparities have not improved for more than 30 years.
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act will:
- Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, such as housing, transportation, and nutrition;
- Provide funding to community organizations working to improve maternal health outcomes, particularly for black women;
- Study the unique maternal health risks facing women veterans and invest in VA maternity care coordination;
- Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure that every mom in America receives maternity care and support from people she can trust;
- Improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the United States and inform solutions to address it;
- Invest in maternal mental health care and substance use disorder treatments;
- Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated women;
- Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas; and
- Promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and continuity of health insurance coverage from pregnancy through labor and delivery and up to one-year postpartum.
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus is endorsed by many leading health and family organizations, including the March of Dimes, Center for Reproductive Rights, the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.Bennet has long advocated for improving maternal health. Bennet and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) led the effort to reauthorize the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early (PREEMIE) Act, which authorizes research and data collection aimed at improving the treatment and outcomes of infants born premature, in both 2013 and 2018.