Warren unveils plan to reward hospitals that make childbirth safer for black women

Warren unveils plan to reward hospitals that make childbirth safer for black women
© Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' Democrats spar over electoral appeal of 'Medicare for All' MORE (D-Mass.) on Wednesday proposed a plan to tackle high childbirth mortality rates among black women while speaking at a forum hosted by an advocacy organization for women of color. 

Warren, who is running for president, proposed giving bonuses to hospitals who lower maternal mortality rates and taking money away from hospitals who do not. 

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“The hospitals are just going to get a lump of money, and if they bring down those maternal mortality rates then they get a bonus, and if they don’t then they’re going to have money taken away from them,” she said while speaking at the She the People forum.

“I want to see the hospitals see it as their responsibility to address this problem head-on and make it a first priority, and the best way to do that is to use money to make it happen,” she added.

Warren blamed the disparity in mortality rates among black and white women in childbirth on "prejudice." 

"The best studies that I've seen put it down to just one thing: prejudice," she said. "Doctors and nurses don't hear African American women's medical issues the same way that they hear the same things from white women."

 

The U.S. has the highest rate of maternal deaths among developed countries, with 26.4 deaths per 100,000 births. About 60 percent of these deaths are preventable, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate. Black women are four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, according to a study published in The Lancet, a general medical journal.

The issue has recently risen to prominence in Congress, with at least 57 lawmakers joining the newly formed Black Maternal Health Caucus earlier this month. 

Warren is among 21 hopefuls competing for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.