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 CarperInstead of raising the gas tax, stop wasting money on frivolous projects To stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists MORE (D-Del.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonMedia and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity Al Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 MORE (D-Fla.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition To boost minority serving institutions, bipartisan Future Act needs immediate action Cruz to oppose Trump appeals court pick MORE (R-S.C.) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoThis week: House jump-starts effort to prevent shutdown Congress set to ignore Trump's wall request in stopgap measure America is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction 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.