Warren lays out plan to combat black maternal mortality in Essence op-ed

Warren lays out plan to combat black maternal mortality in Essence op-ed
© Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Four companies reach 0M settlement in opioid lawsuit | Deal opens door to larger settlements | House panel to consider vaping tax | Drug pricing markup tomorrow On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax MORE (D-Mass.) in an op-ed published by Essence on Tuesday detailed her plan to combat maternal mortality rates among black women, writing that the maternal mortality crisis is an "epidemic" for black women. 

"The data shows that Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. This trend persists even after adjusting for income and education. One major reason? Racism," wrote Warren, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

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Warren, who first unveiled her plan last week, said in the op-ed that her plan is to "hold health systems accountable for protecting black moms."

Under her plan, health systems that show improved outcomes would receive bonuses. Those that don't would be "on the hook" but not "abandoned," she wrote. Warren called for "identifying, investing in, and demanding more from struggling" health systems. 

"If health systems are able to coordinate their care and improve overall outcomes — like raising survival rates, reducing complications, and narrowing the mortality and morbidity gap between white women and women of color — they can earn a bonus," she said.

"If care doesn’t improve, they’ll be on the hook. But they won’t be abandoned. Paying for better care means both rewarding excellent health systems and identifying, investing in, and demanding more from struggling ones," Warren added. 

She added that proposals for reform "have limits," saying "they cannot reach all of the underlying causes of these inequities."

"They’re no substitute for the kind of guaranteed, comprehensive access to general and reproductive health care for women long before pregnancy," Warren wrote. "And they must be carefully designed and monitored to avoid unintended consequences."