Washington, D.C. — Eva Chalas, MD, FACOG, FACS, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), issued the following statement regarding the passage of H.R. 4995, the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives:
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists applauds the U.S. House for prioritizing the lives of women and families by passing the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act.
“As we’ve seen over the last several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed health inequities experienced by women of color in this country and may be worsening the U.S. maternal mortality crisis. This timely, bipartisan legislation will help our nation reverse course on this crisis by implementing evidence-based policies that will improve maternal health outcomes for all women and take steps to eliminate racial inequities.
“ACOG urges the U.S. Senate to build on its commitment to healthy moms and babies by acting expeditiously to ensure this important legislation is passed and signed into law by the end of year.
“While H.R. 4995 will significantly help us move the needle on eliminating preventable maternal deaths, it is also critical that Congress passes H.R. 4996, the Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services Act, so that women who rely on Medicaid have coverage and access to quality health care after childbirth when they are most at risk for experiencing life threatening conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, postpartum depression, and substance use disorder.
“The pandemic has underscored the importance of the Medicaid program, which already plays a critical role in maternity care—covering 43 percent of births nationwide. By also passing H.R. 4996, the House and Senate would support state efforts to extend Medicaid coverage beyond the standard 60 days to one year postpartum and close critical coverage gaps for women after pregnancy.
“These policies can mean the difference between life and death for so many women. The time to act is now.”