The Black Maternal Health Caucus introduced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 (“Momnibus”) on Feb. 8. The Momnibus is AAMC-supported legislation that aims to address the maternal health and mortality crisis in the United States.
The caucus is led by Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
Upon introduction, AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD praised the legislation, stating that the “maternal death rate in the U.S. is indefensible, and it is clear that action is needed to coordinate a response to this national crisis. Academic medicine has led a number of initiatives to improve maternal health, but a multipronged approach involving multisector partnerships is key to addressing these issues.”
The legislation includes provisions that would make investments in social determinants of health like housing, transportation, and nutrition to improve maternal outcomes; grow a diverse perinatal workforce; invest in community-based organizations; and support moms with substance use disorders and mental health conditions. It would also invest in telehealth and innovative payment models to improve access to and incentivize high-quality maternal care, promote maternal vaccinations, and address the unique needs of those who are pregnant or recently gave birth during public health emergencies including COVID-19.
The AAMC sent a letter of support for the Momnibus, stating that “the Momnibus is an important vehicle to address this crisis and the racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women across the country.” The letter also noted that a “multipronged approach involving multisector partnerships is key to addressing these issues, and the AAMC is pleased to see that the Momnibus makes an effort to be inclusive in this way.”
Rep. Underwood highlighted the importance of addressing poor maternal health outcomes in the United States, stating that the “crisis demands urgent attention and serious action to save the lives of Black mothers and all women of color and birthing people across the [country].”
“As the rest of the world works to improve maternal health outcomes, skyrocketing maternal mortality rates here in the United States are precipitating a public health crisis -- one that puts mothers of color especially at risk," said Sen. Booker. Rep. Adams concurred, adding that the Momnibus “provides a comprehensive set of policy solutions and a roadmap for addressing maternal health disparities.”