Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and 21 other Senate colleagues in reintroducing a resolution designating April 11th – 17th, 2020, as Black Maternal Health week to raise awareness about African American women and their babies at risk during and after pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control, black mothers in the United States are three to four times more likely than white mothers to die from pregnancy-related complications and are two times more likely than white mothers to suffer from pregnancy-related illnesses, known as maternal morbidities.
“We’ve known for a long time now that women of color, especially African American women, face more complications during and after pregnancy. I’m proud to sponsor this resolution to raise awareness about the things we can do to protect pregnant and postpartum black women and their babies at a vulnerable time. I’ll continue fighting in the Senate to reduce health disparities faced by communities of color, secure more resources to improve health outcomes, and expand health care benefits for moms who need them.”
A full copy of the resolution can be found here.
Senator Cortez Masto is a cosponsor of the Healthy Maternal and Obstetric Medicine (Healthy MOM) Act, which would establish a special enrollment period (SEP) for expectant mothers so they can enroll in or change their health care plan once they become pregnant. Currently, life events including marriage, divorce, having a baby, adoption and changing jobs trigger a special enrollment period. Yet becoming pregnant is not considered a qualifying event.
This legislation would also guarantee 12 months of continuous Medicaid eligibility for postpartum women and require employer-sponsored plans to cover maternity care for all beneficiaries, including dependent children.