Sen. Brinks Introduces Legislation to Improve Postpartum Care, Reduce Health Disparities Among Mothers of Color

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) today introduced Senate Bill 1033 to expand temporary, pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage to one year after childbirth in order to improve maternal health outcomes and decrease postpartum mortality rates.

Emergency measures taken to ensure the health and safety of new mothers during the pandemic have allowed them to maintain their pregnancy-related Medicaid for longer, but typically, pregnancy-related Medicaid only lasts for 60 days postpartum.

“We should not be adding to the long list of reasons women do not seek medical treatment for postpartum complications, and no child should lose their mother because of lack of access to health care,” Sen. Brinks said. “Study after study tells us that we have tools at our disposal to reduce these numbers, because two out of three pregnancy-related deaths are determined to be preventable. Extending the duration of maternal Medicaid is a powerful and cost-effective way to save new mothers’ lives.”

The United States ranks 55th among developed nations, and Michigan ranks in the lower half of the U.S., when it comes to maternal mortality rates, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even more alarming, there is a large disparity between white mothers and mothers of color. Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women areroughly three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.

There is also strong evidence of improved maternal health outcomes, particularly among Black mothers, when investments of public spending are made for maternal health. In fact, a study by Florida Atlantic University found that a 10% increase in pregnancy-related public health spending could reduce maternal mortality rates among Black mothers by 13.5% and contribute to a 20% reduction in the Black-white maternal mortality gap.

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