On December 7th, Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a Summit at the White House to mark the first-ever federal Maternal Health Day of Action. The Vice President issued a nationwide Call to Action to both the public and private sector to help improve maternal health outcomes in the United States.
As part of the Call to Action, the Department of Health and Human Services is releasing a new report estimating that 720,000 more people would gain Medicaid postpartum coverage if states act, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposes establishment of a “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation and issues guidance to states on how to provide Medicaid coverage for a full year postpartum.
At the Summit, the Vice President delivered remarks and convened Cabinet Secretaries, Members of Congress, local elected officials, White House officials, advocates, and celebrities to discuss the maternal health crisis. Participants ranged from Senator Cory Booker to five-time U.S. Olympian Allyson Felix.
The Maternal Health Crisis
- The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any wealthy nation in the world—more than double the rate of any of our peer nations.
- Systemic inequities create significant disparities in our healthcare system.
- The maternal mortality rate is especially high for Black and Native American women, and women in rural communities.
- Black women are more than three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications as White women.
- Native American women are more than twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications as White women.
- Pregnant women who live in rural communities are about 60 percent more likely to die before, during, or after birth than women in urban communities.
- President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have long championed policies to improve maternal health and equity, and addressing the maternal mortality and mobility crisis is a key priority of their Administration.