Stabenow pitches plan to curb deaths of new moms, babies

Washington D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The number of mothers and newborns dying from health complications is soaring in the U.S., making it the most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 700 women in the U.S. die each year from pregnancy-related complications. The CDC says 3 out of 5 of those deaths are preventable.

“That’s not acceptable in the United States of America,” said Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

The Democrat says while some states are working to reduce the alarming numbers, it’s time to set national standards to protect every American mother and baby.

“What’s happening for too many moms and babies is they’re not getting the health care they need,” she said.

The plan introduced by Stabenow and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine would provide more money to hospitals to curb unnecessary cesarean sections and induced deliveries before 39 weeks. Both procedures are linked to the increase in deaths and federal health care costs.

“It makes no sense and we have to make sure we have high quality standards,” said Stabenow.

Since nearly half of U.S. births are covered by Medicaid, taxpayers spend about $48 billion each year on deliveries. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates by reducing early deliveries by just 10 percent, taxpayers would save more than $75 million.

If Medicaid standards aren’t met under the proposed Quality Care for Mom and Babies Act, Stabenow says hospitals could lose funding.

This is the second year the plan has been introduced and it has bipartisan support. Right now, the measure remains in the Senate.

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