Brown supports ‘Momnibus Act,’ bills aimed at promoting Black maternal health

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is supporting a package of bills intended to address maternal health because the number of Black mothers dying in childbirth is unacceptable, the Ohio Democrat said Wednesday.

“We know there isn’t one solution to reducing the maternal mortality rate in our state,” Brown said. “These bills are part of a comprehensive approach we must take that includes protecting Medicaid expansion, protecting the Affordable Care Act against political attacks. It also includes declaring racism a public health crisis.”

Nationally, Black mothers die from pregnancy-related complications at over three times the rate of white mothers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Black moms are also twice as likely to suffer from life-threatening pregnancy complications.

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 is a package of 12 bills being pushed by Brown and other Democrats that if passed, would do the following and more:

  • Invest in social determinants of health, including housing, transportation and nutrition.
  • Fund community-based organizations working to improve maternal health outcomes.
  • Grow and diversify the medical workforce caring for moms and babies.
  • Improve data collection to better understand the causes of maternal death.
  • 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.

Charleta Tavares, CEO of Columbus Neighborhood Health Center with Primary One Health and a former state senator, said during a joint news call with Brown on Wednesday that the benefits of these measures to society and the economy in the long-term far outweigh any initial costs.

Two representatives from Ohio are co-sponsors of the bill package in the House: Rep. Joyce Beatty (D) and Rep. Tim Ryan (D).

Maternal and infant mortality go hand in hand. As part of the Dayton Daily News’ Path Forward: Race and Equity project, this Sunday’s edition will include articles digging into our region’s high rate of Black infant mortality and solutions to the problem.

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