11.19.2021 – (PRESS STATEMENT) Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act, which includes key maternal health investments from the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 and permanent, mandatory year-long postpartum Medicaid coverage.
“The inclusion of strong maternal health provisions in the Build Back Better Act is so important, especially extending postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months,” said Breana Lipscomb, the Center’s Senior Advisor, Maternal Health & Rights. “Black and Indigenous moms and birthing people deserve to have safe, healthy pregnancies and birthing experiences. Extending Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum will ensure continuous access to quality care during a critical period. The assurance of postpartum Medicaid coverage across all states means that every birthing person, regardless of where they live, can receive the care they need, when they need it. Inclusion of the Momnibus provisions will support community-based perinatal health workers and provide resources and staffing necessary to respond to the crisis at hand. We are grateful to Congressional leadership and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus for championing maternal health equity and for working tirelessly to address the ongoing maternal health crisis in the United States.”
The U.S. is facing a worsening maternal health crisis marked by high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity, especially for Black and Indigenous birthing people who experience far higher rates of pregnancy-related death and complications than white birthing people. The Black Maternal Health Momnibus was created to build on previous legislation that aimed to address the crisis and improve maternal health outcomes.
Provisions of the Momnibus included in the Build Back Better Act include:
- $175 million in funding for local entities to address social determinants of maternal health like housing, nutrition, and environmental conditions – including a minimum of $75 million exclusively for community-based organizations working to promote maternal health equity.
- $295 million to grow and diversify the perinatal health workforce, including nurses, midwives, physicians, doulas, and maternal mental and behavioral health professionals – including $50 million specifically for doulas.
- $100 million for maternal mental health equity grant programs.
- $85 million to address the impacts of climate change-related maternal and infant health risks through health professional schools.
- $50 million to advance maternal health research at Minority-Serving Institutions like Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and AAPISIs.
- $50 million to promote representative community engagement in Maternal Mortality Review Committees.
- $210 million to strengthen federal maternal health programs like the CDC’s Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies program, Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality (ERASE MM), Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), Perinatal Quality Collaboratives, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
- $60 million to expand access to maternal health equity digital tools.
- $50 million for bias trainings among health care professionals.
The Build Back Better Act will need to clear a vote in the U.S. Senate next before it goes to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
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