By Bryant Daniels, Director of Public Affairs, Office of Congressman Eliot L. Engel
Editor's note: Representative Eliot L. Engel represents the 16th Congressional District, which comprises the northern Bronx and the southern half of Westchester County, including Bronxville.
Apr. 18, 2018: Congressman Eliot L. Engel (NY-16) and Congressman Steve Stivers (OH-15) reintroduced the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act, a bipartisan bill that will allow officials to better track the performances of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in caring for American mothers and infants.
Rates of maternal mortality have fallen worldwide in recent years but, shockingly, have risen in the United States. Given this trend, it is alarming that the U.S. is not measuring and evaluating the performances of Medicaid and CHIP in caring for newborns and their moms--especially since Medicaid finances roughly half of all births in the U.S.
The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act aims to remedy this problem. The bill would bring together diverse stakeholders to identify care quality benchmarks for women and children in Medicaid and CHIP, as well as fund new and existing maternity and infant care quality collaboratives. These collaboratives bring together local stakeholders, like doctors and nurse-midwives, to share best practices and improve care for patients.
The bill has been endorsed by the March of Dimes, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the National Partnership for Women & Families, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Lamaze International, March for Moms, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
The bill was introduced with more than a dozen bipartisan original cosponsors: Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), John Garamendi (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), Don Young (R-AK), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
“Medicaid and CHIP have been essential in caring for America’s moms and babies--especially in New York’s 16th District, where more than a quarter of children are covered by these programs,” Engel said. “As such, it just makes sense that we should carefully measure the quality of the care moms and infants are getting through these programs. I am pleased to once again co-lead the effort to take better care of America’s mothers and babies.”
“The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act will make a real difference in the lives of moms and babies by helping to ensure every pregnant woman and infant gets the highest quality care possible,” said March of Dimes president Stacey D. Stewart. “March of Dimes strongly supports this effort to increase the quality of perinatal health care, and we look forward to its swift enactment.”
“The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act provides a critical opportunity to connect more women and babies in this country with the safe, effective, evidence-based health care they need to thrive,” said National Partnership for Women & Families president Debra L. Ness. “By driving innovative improvements in maternity care delivery while maximizing the value of our health care dollars, this bill can help address our nation’s poor maternal and infant health outcomes and persistent disparities. We commend Rep. Engel and Rep. Stivers for reintroducing it in the House of Representatives today and continuing to push for its passage."
Pictured here: Congressman Eliot L. Engel.
Photo courtesy Office of Congressman Eliot L. Engel
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