Bipartisan group of senators ask Trump to increase focus on maternal deaths

Bipartisan group of senators ask Trump to increase focus on maternal deaths
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A bipartisan group of Senators on Tuesday asked the Trump administration to focus more on reducing deaths caused by pregnancy complications. 

The 14 senators, led by Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns Trump administration rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards MORE (D-Del.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonLobbying world The most expensive congressional races of the last decade Lobbying world MORE (D-Fla.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottHow much damage? The true cost of the Senate's coronavirus relief bill Senate unanimously passes T coronavirus stimulus package Senate rejects GOP attempt to change unemployment benefits in coronavirus stimulus bill MORE (R-S.C.) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoState Department under fire as 13K Americans remain stranded abroad Senators balance coronavirus action with risks to health Heidi Klum says she tried to get a coronavirus test: 'I just can't get one' MORE (R-W.Va.), wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar asking that the agency "focus on strategies to reduce maternal mortality rates in the United States."

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From 2000 to 2014, they said, the maternal mortality rate increased by 26 percent.

"This troubling trend makes the United States and outlier among every other developed country," the senators wrote. 

The senators noted that African-American, American Indian and Alaskan Native women are more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to other women in the U.S. 

"We therefore also ask that you review existing data and provide us with recommendations about what can be done at the federal, state and local levels to reduce mortality and improve health outcomes for all mothers and their children, regardless of their racial and ethnic background, income level or educational attainment," the senators wrote. 

The senators also asked HHS for more information about what it's doing to reduce maternal mortality rates, particularly in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. 

A bill that would fund state efforts to study and reduce maternal deaths has passed the Senate health committee but has stalled in the House. 

Advocates of reducing maternal mortality rates have called on Congress to do more to address the issue.