Letter from AHA and Other National Organizations to Congressional Leaders on Two Maternal Health Bills

December 8, 2020

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

The 115 undersigned national organizations dedicated to improving maternal health urge you to swiftly pass the bipartisan Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act (H.R. 4995) and the bipartisan Helping MOMS Act of 2020 (H.R. 4996) as soon as possible – whether as part of the next spending package or another appropriate legislative vehicle before the end of the 116th Congress. Final passage of H.R. 4995 and H.R. 4996 is a critical and foundational next step in Congress’ work to address maternal mortality and improve maternal health.

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 4995 and H.R. 4996 in September 2020. These two bills represent years of Congressional and stakeholder work to craft legislation that will address our nation’s maternal health crisis. The legislation combines proposals from several stand-alone bills introduced on a bipartisan basis by members of both chambers during the 115th and 116th Congresses. Both H.R. 4995 and H.R. 4996 have been scrutinized and improved by committee hearings, committee markups, and stakeholder engagement. It is time to pass this legislation into law. The need is dire and there is much work to do.

The United States is the only industrialized nation where maternal deaths are on the rise. Each year, an estimated 700 women in the United States die during pregnancy and in the postpartum period from complications related to pregnancy. Of these maternal deaths, an estimated 60 percent are preventable. Stark racial inequities in maternal health outcomes persist; Black and Indigenous women are roughly three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as white women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 60 percent of pregnancy-related deaths occur in the days between delivery and one year postpartum. The COVID-19 pandemic risks exacerbating the maternal health crisis. A recent study from the CDC suggests that pregnant women are at a significantly higher risk for severe outcomes, including death, from COVID-19 than non-pregnant women.

Legislation passed by Congress in 2018 – the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act and the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act – is helping the United States better understand how and why women are dying or experiencing severe morbidity during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Passage of H.R. 4995 and H.R. 4996 would build on these efforts and move the United States from data to action in key areas.

Specifically, this legislation would increase access to maternity care in rural and underserved areas, help maternity care providers and hospitals implement clinically proven best practices, support state efforts to extend Medicaid coverage for women to one year postpartum, and make progress in the work needed to eliminate racial and ethnic inequities in maternal health outcomes.

We are grateful for your commitment to improving maternal health and ending preventable maternal death in the United States. We urge you to pass H.R. 4995 and H.R. 4996 this year because our nation’s moms and families cannot wait.


2020 Mom
Aligning for Health
America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Pediatrics
American College of Nurse-Midwives
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American College of Physicians
American Heart Association
American Hospital Association
American Medical Women's Association
American Nurses Association
American Osteopathic Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Public Health Association
Anthem, Inc.
APS Foundation of America, Inc.
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of Community Affiliated Plans
Association for Prevention Teaching and Research
Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs
Association of Public Health Nurses (APHN)
Association of Public Health Laboratories
Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
Association of State Public Health Nutritionists
Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative
The Catholic Health Association of the United States
Center for Community Resilience
Center for Health Equity, University of California, San Francisco
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Centering Healthcare Institute
Child Welfare League of America
Children’s Defense Fund
Children's HealthWatch
Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service, Inc. (COA)
Community Catalyst
Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC)
Every Mother Counts
Families USA
Family Voices
First Focus Campaign for Children
Futures Without Violence
Guttmacher Institute
Hand to Hold
Health Care Service Corporation
HealthConnect One
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia
Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation
IDEA Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association (ITCA)
Infant Nutrition Council of America
Institute for Perinatal Quality Improvement
Johns Hopkins Women’s Mood Disorders Center
Lifeline4Moms Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School
March for Moms
March of Dimes
Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance
Maternal Safety Foundation
Medicaid Health Plans of America (MHPA)
Mom Congress
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Association for Children's Behavioral Health
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
National Association of County and City Health Officials
National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
National Birth Equity Collaborative
National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
National Health Law Program
National Healthy Start Association
National Institute for Children’s Health Quality – NICHQ
National Partnership for Women & Families
National WIC Association
National Women’s Health Network
Nurse-Family Partnership
Organization of Teratology Information Specialists
Parents as Teachers
Patient Safety Movement Foundation
PCOS Challenge: The National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association
Physician Assistant Education Association
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Postpartum Support International
Preeclampsia Foundation
PreemieWorld, LLC
Prevent Blindness
Prevention Institute
Primary Maternity Care, LLC
The PPROM Foundation
Restoring Our Own Through Transformation (ROOTT)
Safe States Alliance
Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute
Share Our Strength
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Society for Reproductive Investigation
Society for Women's Health Research
The 2 Degrees Foundation
The Joint Commission
The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health
The Shane Foundation
Trust for America’s Health
United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC)
Vaccinate Your Family

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