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Pallone on Committee Passage of Maternal Health Bills

Nov 20, 2019
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement today after the Committee voted to favorably report two bills to the House of Representatives that will improve quality and access to maternal health care:

“Today, the Committee continued its work to reverse the shocking and inexcusable trendlines in maternal health in America.  While the United States is home to some of the most advanced health care in the world, it consistently ranks near the bottom globally when assessing maternal mortality and morbidity.  These numbers are even more alarming for African American and Native American women, who are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related conditions than others.

“These statistics are unacceptable, and that’s why we passed bipartisan legislation to expand access to care for rural moms, educate health professionals on preventing discrimination and bias in care, and allow states to extend Medicaid coverage for new moms for up to 12 months postpartum.  I am thankful to each of the bills’ sponsors and cosponsors for their ongoing commitment to improving maternal health outcomes and look forward to advancing these bills to the House Floor for consideration.”     

H.R. 4995, the “Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act of 2019,” was introduced by Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), Bob Latta (R-OH), Alma Adams (D-NC), and Steve Stivers (R-OH).  The legislation creates new programs in the Public Health Service Act to improve maternal health, including programs to strengthen maternal health quality and access to care in rural areas, programs to address racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes, and grants to implement best practices in maternal health care and strengthen training programs.  The bill was favorably reported by voice vote.

Amendment to H.R. 4995 offered by Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) was adopted by voice vote.  The amendment would improve Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data collection on race, ethnicity, and other demographic information.

H.R.4996, the “Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services Act of 2019,” or the “Helping MOMS Act,” was introduced by Reps. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Buddy Carter (R-GA).  The legislation would create a new state plan option to extend continuous Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) eligibility for one year postpartum.  It would also require the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) to issue a report on access to doula care in Medicaid and require a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on gaps in postpartum care.  The bill was favorably reported by voice vote.

Amendment to H.R. 4996 offered by Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) was adopted by voice vote. The amendment requires a MACPAC report on bundled payments for pregnancy-related care.