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 CarperHillicon Valley: Facebook to label 'newsworthy' posts that violate policies | Unilever to pull ads from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram | FEC commissioner steps down Senate Democrats push federal agencies to combat coronavirus scams and robocalls The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Mark Takano says Congress must extend worker benefits expiring in July; WHO reports record spike in global cases MORE (D-Del.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA names DC headquarters after agency's first Black female engineer Mary W. Jackson NASA, SpaceX and the private-public partnership that caused the flight of the Crew Dragon Lobbying world MORE (D-Fla.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTim Scott says he's talking with House Democrats about reviving police reform bill Public unites, Congress gridlocks — there's a better way Trump sealed his own fate MORE (R-S.C.) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoRepublicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names McConnell makes strong call for masks, saying there should be no stigma Ernst sinks vote on Trump EPA nominee 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.