Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, Chief Executive Officer of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):
“On behalf of its 60,000 members and the patients across the country for whom they provide care, ACOG applauds the Congress on passage of the American Rescue Plan. This essential and unprecedented legislation contains provisions that will expand access to needed medical care, bolster the U.S. medical system to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and implement approaches to ensure the wellness and long-term sustainability of the health care workforce.
“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated health inequities and has disproportionately impacted communities of color. Of particular concern to obstetrician-gynecologists is how these inequities may worsen the maternal mortality crisis, which already takes significantly more lives of people of color. Our nation’s leaders must promote policies that address both crises. The American Rescue Plan will help us to do so. Among other things, the Act creates an option that allows states to extend postpartum coverage for Medicaid and CHIP for the full year after delivery, a years-long advocacy priority of ACOG’s and an essential step for addressing the nation’s maternal mortality crisis.
In addition to the groundbreaking Medicaid provision, ACOG specifically applauds the following provisions:
- Acceleration of COVID-19 vaccine access through additional support for activities to plan, prepare for, promote, distribute, administer, monitor, and track COVID–19 vaccines, as well as funding to boost vaccine confidence and vaccines and therapeutics supply chains;
- Funding for purchasing and distribution of testing supplies and personal protective equipment as well as increasing the size of the public health workforce;
- Additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to provide loans for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Support for programs to increase access to mental and behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment; and
- Incentives for states to expand Medicaid access, which has been shown to reduce adverse health outcomes before, during, and after pregnancies.
“The bill also acknowledges the impact of the crisis on the U.S. medical workforce by extending mental and behavioral health support to medical professionals who have lived with the trauma of battling the pandemic for over a year; assigning resources for public health programs that increase access to care and alleviate workforce shortages; and providing additional financial assistance for ob-gyn practices struggling to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
“We applaud the work of Congress in advancing this life-saving bill and look forward to President Biden swiftly signing it into law.”
To learn more about ACOG’s advocacy and policy priorities, read our 2021 Commitment to Policy Action.