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 Health Care — Sponsored by Amgen — ObamaCare signups lag behind last year despite recent surge | Drug company offers cheaper opioid overdose treatment after hiking price 600 percent | CDC calls fentanyl deadliest drug in US Drug company to offer cheaper opioid overdose treatment after hiking price 600 percent Overnight Energy: Trump adviser Kudlow seeks end to electric car, renewable energy credits | Shell to pay execs based on carbon reduction | Justices reject greens' border wall lawsuit MORE (D-Del.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonMcCaskill: 'Too many embarrassing uncles' in the Senate Bill Nelson uses farewell address to remind colleagues ‘no one person is above the law’ Coal supporter Manchin named top Dem on Senate Energy Committee MORE (D-Fla.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTrump signs order aimed at revitalizing economically distressed communities Juan Williams: Nowhere to go for black Republicans Tim Scott: Stop giving court picks with 'questionable track records on race' a Senate vote MORE (R-S.C.) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoTrump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming House passes bipartisan bill aimed at reversing rising maternal mortality rates Dole salute embodies emotion of Bush farewell 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.