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Senators Hassan, Grassley Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Care for Mothers and Make Pregnancy in America Safer

Senators’ Bipartisan Bill Follows Release of CDC Study Showing Alarming Increase in Maternal Mortality Rates

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Healthy Moms and Babies Act to strengthen health care for women before, after, and during childbirth. The reintroduction of this legislation comes after data was released last week from the CDC showing an alarming 40 percent increase in maternal mortality rates between 2020 and 2021. The report also underscored that the country’s maternal health crisis particularly affects women of color and those living in rural communities.

“It is an outrage that in one of the richest countries on earth, women are dying during pregnancy and childbirth at increasingly alarming rates, particularly women of color. We can and must make pregnancy safer and protect women from preventable deaths. Our bipartisan bill takes important and long overdue steps to help improve care for pregnant women and their infants, and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this legislation that will help save lives and keep families whole,” Senator Hassan said.

“We must do a better job at supporting pregnant moms and their babies,” Senator Grassley said. “The Healthy Moms and Babies Act will enable high-quality coordinated care to our most vulnerable moms. Through 21st century technology and community-based efforts, we can prevent maternal mortality and high-risk pregnancies – regardless of a mom’s zip code or economic background. As a strong supporter of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program and stillbirth prevention efforts, I’ll continue working with my colleagues to help expectant families.”

“More often than not maternal mortality is preventable with comprehensive health care.  The Healthy Moms and Babies Act will provide comprehensive outcome-focused and community-based prevention and provide support to pregnant and postpartum women.  When women can access timely health care and supportive services in pregnancy and postpartum , we will see better outcomes for both mother and their children. This is fundamental to population health,” said Dr. Maria Padin, Chief Medical Officer for Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics / Southern Region.

The bipartisan Healthy Moms and Babies Act will improve maternal and child health care by:

  • Coordinating and providing “whole-person” care, supporting outcome-focused and community-based prevention, and supporting stillbirth prevention activities and expanding the maternal health workforce. 
  • Modernizing maternal health care through telehealth to support women of color and women living in rural communities.
  • Reducing maternal mortality and high-risk pregnancies including C-section births, and improving our understanding of social determinants of health in pregnant and postpartum women.

In an effort to improve maternal health care in New Hampshire, Senator Hassan recently supported a measure, which is now law, that enables states across the country to permanently provide a full year of postpartum coverage for mothers on Medicaid. The New Hampshire legislature is currently considering a bill to do this, which would make a major difference for moms in New Hampshire who are struggling to afford their postpartum care.

Additionally, at the end of last year, Senator Hassan’s bipartisan bill to improve mental health for new mothers and address the high rate of maternal suicide became law. The TRIUMPH for New Moms Act creates a federal taskforce and national strategy to improve maternal mental health outcomes and expand mental health resources for new mothers. Senator Hassan also recently hosted a roundtable discussion with medical providers and advocates at Dartmouth Health in Manchester to discuss her recent work to expand access to maternal mental health care.