Dems aim to expand maternal care, midwifery coverage

A group of House and Senate Democrats on Friday introduced legislation that would expand Medicaid to cover midwife care in an effort to improve the state of maternal health care.


Introduced during Black Maternal Health Week, the Mamas First Act would amend the Social Security Act to provide coverage under the Medicaid program for doulas and midwives. Medicaid currently covers 40 percent of all births, and 65 percent of Black mothers’ births, in the U.S. each year.


“As Black mothers continue to bear the burden of our maternal health crisis, dying at three to five times the rate of white mothers, making these investments will have an immediate impact on the most vulnerable mothers,” Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), a sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.


Black women are more than three times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related causes than white women, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The U.S. also has the highest maternal mortality rate compared to other high-income developed countries, a 2020 Commonwealth Study found. The study also found that demand for access to midwives grew during the coronavirus pandemic, with several states issuing emergency orders to expand midwifery services.