Across the country, health care experts, lawmakers, and advocates joined Protect Our Care to discuss how Congress has a real opportunity to improve the health of moms and children before the end of the year.
Speakers called on Congress to pass the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021, which addresses key and preventable elements of the maternal health crisis, including addressing the social determinants of health contributing to maternal mortality, strengthening the perinatal workforce, and providing health care workers with the tools and training necessary to confront discriminatory and biased practices.
Additionally, speakers highlighted the importance of protecting and strengthening Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to ensure mothers and children receive the health care they need to thrive. To do this, Congress can require 12 months of continuous Medicaid coverage for people on Medicaid, guarantee 12 months of coverage for postpartum mothers, and permanently reauthorize CHIP funding.
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds overwhelming public support for a series of reforms that will improve the health of millions of children, pregnant women, and moms, particularly people of color and rural Americans. The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country and 80 percent of deaths are entirely preventable. The burden of this crisis disproportionately falls on people of color and rural Americans. Now, Congress has a critical opportunity to address maternal mortality and save lives.
On Friday, December 16, Wisconsin State Senator LaTonya Johnson, and Dr. Kristin Lyerly, MD, joined Protect Our Care Wisconsin to discuss how Congress has a real opportunity to improve the health of moms and children in Wisconsin through bipartisan, affordable, and commonsense solutions. “This is not a partisan issue. This is a human issue that affects our most vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbors,” said Dr. Lyerly. “As a physician who has dedicated my life to taking care of moms and babies, I am literally pleading with our leaders in Congress to do the same.” You can watch the event here.
- Wisconsin Examiner: Wisconsin advocates urge Congress to pass maternal health policies
- WisPolitics: Protect Our Care Wisconsin: Biden Administration continues to expand affordable coverage and protect consumers
On Friday, December 16, State Representative Anne Perry and Dania Bowie of the Maine Women’s Lobby joined Protect Our Care to discuss how Congress has a real opportunity to improve the health of moms and children in Maine through bipartisan, affordable, and commonsense solutions.
State Representative Anne Perry said, “The first year of a child’s life is critical to the baby and their mother. The best prevention we can provide for our health care system is quality and accessible health care at the beginning of life.”
Dania Bowie, Maine Women’s Lobby, said, “We will build a more gender-just and racially just nation when the needs of caregivers, infants, and families are put at the center. As we go into the new year, let’s set a resolution to make sure that our Congress is making healthcare a reality for every family.” You can watch the event here.
On Thursday, December 15th, Ohio leaders and health care advocates joined Protect Our Care Ohio to discuss how Congress has a real opportunity to improve the health of moms and children in Ohio through bipartisan, affordable, and commonsense solutions. “Congress has an urgent opportunity to address the maternal mortality crisis and improve the health of moms,” said Celeste Smith. “Make no mistake – there’s a maternal health crisis in our country, especially for Black mothers. As Congress considers its end-of-year package, they have not just an opportunity, but an obligation to take meaningful action to confront this preventable criss. Passing the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act would be an enormous, live-saving step in the right direction.”
“Children, especially those in vulnerable situations, should not be left behind,” said Erika White, Chair of Healthy Lucas County CHIP and President of Communications Workers of America Local 4319. “Instead of continuing to play games with children’s health care, Congress should permanently authorize CHIP – and provide kids in need with stable coverage once and for all.” You can watch the event here.
- WNWO (Toledo NBC): Protecting Health Care for Moms and Children in Ohio
On Thursday, December 15th, health care advocates and storytellers joined Protect Our Care Pennsylvania to discuss how Congress has a real opportunity to improve the health of children in Pennsylvania through bipartisan, affordable, and commonsense solutions. “Federal funding of CHIP has made a huge difference. Hundreds of thousands of children have been covered by CHIP who otherwise have not had insurance without the program in place. Making funding permanent will be a huge help to ensuring families that coverage remains available to them, but also allows for states to plan effectively,” said Ann Bacharach of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network.
“Keeping moms covered through the entire postpartum period is key. More than half of pregnancy associated deaths in Pennsylvania occur between 43 and 365 days postpartum. And for every maternal death, there are approximately 80 moms who experience a severe maternal morbidity, which can negatively impact their lifelong health,” said Sara Jann of the Maternity Care Coalition. “The clock is ticking for Congress to make this extension in coverage permanent and mandatory, this option sunsets in just over four years, and we cannot afford to go backwards.” You can watch the event here.
On Thursday, December 15th, Trevor Storrs, Laura Norton-Cruz, and Judy Jessen joined Protect Our Care to discuss how Congress has a real opportunity to improve the health of moms and children in Alaska through bipartisan, affordable, and commonsense solutions. “Medicaid provides health care for over 200,000 low-income people in Alaska who would otherwise be uninsured. Women make up the majority of Medicaid enrollees. One in five women of reproductive age relies on Medicaid for healthcare coverage, and Medicaid is the source of coverage for nearly half of all women giving birth,” said Rose O’Hara-Jolley, Alaska State Director of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. “Without Medicaid coverage, Alaska’s most vulnerable communities will suffer, especially those who already face barriers to care.”
“Children are our most valuable resource. They make up about 25% of our population, but they’re 100% of our future. Who we are today is a window to our future, and when children and families have the resources needed to create safe, stable, and nurturing environments, we’ll have a future generation that is truly equipped to ensure our great state of Alaska continues to prosper,” said Trevor Storrs, President and CEO of Alaska Children’s Trust. “CHIP has existed for nearly 25 years. There’s a ton of evidence that shows how it helps children and families thrive. Today it’s time that we reauthorize it permanently. Medicaid and CHIP are so much more than just how they are tools that said children on the path to success.” You can watch the event here.
On Wednesday, December 14, Congressman G.K. Butterfield joined Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse to discuss how Congress has a real opportunity to improve the health of moms and children in North Carolina through bipartisan, affordable, and commonsense solutions.“Medicaid and CHIP save lives — we are going to continue to insist over the next few days that we get this right and protect vulnerable Americans who need health care,” said Congressman G.K. Butterfield.
“Postnatal care saved my life,” said Stacy Staggs of Little Lobbyists. “If it’s in place for more people, it will save more lives and lead to better health outcomes for everyone. That should be a universal legislative priority.”
“There is massive support for these year-end health care provisions – permanently funding the CHIP program, protecting health care for moms, and passing the Momnibus Act,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “So much progress has been made, but there is more to be done and this year-end package presents a great opportunity to do it.” You can watch the event here.