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: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Democrats give Warren's 'Medicare for All' plan the cold shoulder Liz Cheney applauds Trump for pulling out of Paris climate agreement MORE (D-Del.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonBottom Line Bottom Line Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity MORE (D-Fla.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottOn The Money: Appeals court clears way for Congress to seek Trump financial records | Fed chief urges Congress to boost US workforce | Federal deficit hits 4 billion in one month | China talks hit snag over agricultural purchases GOP senator blasts Dem bills on 'opportunity zones' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight MORE (R-S.C.) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoHillicon Valley: Facebook to remove mentions of potential whistleblower's name | House Dems demand FCC action over leak of location data | Dem presses regulators to secure health care data Senators introduce bill to create 'parity' among broadband programs Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump 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.