About the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021
Background: In the richest nation on earth, moms are dying at the highest rate in the developed world – and the rate is rising. For as dire as the situation is for all women and birthing people, the crisis is most severe for Black moms, who are dying at 3 to 4 times the rate of their white counterparts. Native Americans are more than twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes. One study found that in New York City, Hispanic birthing people experienced severe maternal morbidity at 1.8 times the rate of non-Hispanic white birthing people. Other research has shown that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have higher rates of maternal mortality during hospitalization for delivery, even after accounting for other factors that affect outcomes.
To address the maternal health crisis in America, Congressional leaders have been fighting for critically important policies like 12-month postpartum Medicaid coverage, which would ensure moms and have access to the care and support they need and deserved for the full postpartum period.
To build on these efforts, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, Congresswoman Alma Adams, Senator Cory Booker, and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus are introducing the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021. The Black Maternal Health Momnibus builds on existing legislation to comprehensively address every dimension of the maternal health crisis in America.
Bill summary: The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act will:
- Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, like housing, transportation, and nutrition.
- Provide funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve maternal health outcomes and promote equity.
- Comprehensively study the unique maternal health risks facing pregnant and postpartum veterans and support VA maternity care coordination programs.
- Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure that every mom in America receives culturally congruent maternity care and support.
- Improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the United States and inform solutions to address it.
- Support moms with maternal mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
- Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated moms.
- Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas.
- Promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and non-clinical perinatal support.
- Invest in federal programs to address the unique risks for and effects of COVID-19 during and after pregnancy and to advance respectful maternity care in future public health emergencies.
- Invest in community-based initiatives to reduce levels of and exposure to climate change-related risks for moms and babies.
- Promote maternal vaccinations to protect the health and safety of moms and babies.
Momnibus legislation: Each of the twelve titles of the Momnibus was introduced as a standalone bill by a Member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. A summary of each of those bills can be found here.
Original cosponsors in the House of Representatives: Representatives Alma S. Adams; Ro Khanna; Nydia M. Velázquez; Lucy McBath; Adam Smith; Mary Gay Scanlon; André Carson; Al Lawson; Jahana Hayes; G. K. Butterfield; Joyce Beatty; Gwen Moore; Marilyn Strickland; Mike Doyle; Ilhan Omar; Katherine Clark; Tim Ryan; Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.; Adam B. Schiff; Hank Johnson; Steven Horsford; Terri A. Sewell; Lisa Blunt Rochester; Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Nanette Diaz Barragán; Yvette D. Clarke; Ted Deutch; Donald M. Payne, Jr.; Gregory W. Meeks; Betty McCollum; Eleanor Holmes Norton; Thomas R. Suozzi; Diana DeGette; Earl Blumenauer; Angie Craig; Lois Frankel; Seth Moulton; Darren Soto; Jerrold Nadler; David Trone; Elaine Luria; John P. Sarbanes; Abigail Davis Spanberger; Jackie Speier; Eddie Bernice Johnson; Cheri Bustos; Danny K. Davis; Jan Schakowsky; Jamaal Bowman; Sharice L. Davids; Kim Schrier, M.D.; Alcee L. Hastings; Karen Bass; Bonnie Watson Coleman; Barbara Lee; Chrissy Houlahan; Ayanna Pressley; Steve Cohen; Colin Allred; Dwight Evans; Cori Bush; Jason Crow; Kathy Castor; Judy Chu; Rashida Tlaib; Gerald E. Connolly; Sara Jacobs; Val Demings; Ami Bera, M.D.; Ann McLane Kuster; Norma J. Torres; Paul Tonko; Lizzie Fletcher; Sheila Jackson Lee; Jerry McNerney; Chellie Pingree; Greg Stanton; Mondaire Jones, Susan Wild; Jamie Raskin; and Nikema Williams. A current list of House cosponsors can be found here.
Original cosponsors in the Senate: Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Edward Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Raphael Warnock (D-GA). A current list of Senate cosponsors can be found here.
Get involved: If you are looking to take action on this urgent issue, you can get involved by:
- Reaching out to your Members of Congress in the House of Representatives and the Senate to make your voice heard about why this issue matters to you. You can look up your Representative in the in the U.S. House of Representatives here and you can find information about your Senators here.
- Spreading the word on social media: sample posts can be found here.
- Joining the efforts of community-based organizations who are leading critical initiatives where you live.
- Staying informed about Momnibus updates by following the Black Maternal Health Caucus on Twitter.