Struggling to expand access to health care and improve health for all

To make insurance coverage available to working families, in 2019 I introduced the Health Care Accessibility Act, which lowers out-of-pocket health insurance payments by reducing taxes for people who buy plans through the health insurance market. This law offers more generous tax breaks for people who buy these plans and ensures that no one is forced to pay more than 8.5% of their household income in premiums. These are real, significant savings for families who currently pay up to 20% or more of their monthly premium income. I was delighted to see this law included in the American Salvation Plan and signed into law in May. Since then, 2.5 million Americans have enrolled in health insurance, and families have saved an average of more than $ 40 per person per month on their coverage. We must now make it permanent so that families can survive the pandemic safely.

However, coverage alone does not provide optimal health outcomes in our country. The United States continues to lead the maternal mortality rate in high-income countries, and it is the only indicator that is growing. Maternal mortality rates are significantly higher among African Americans, who are three to four times more likely than white Americans to die from pregnancy-related complications. Other people of color also suffer from increased rates of death and morbidity during childbirth. The pandemic has further exacerbated the maternal health risks faced by pregnant people who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

When I came to Congress in 2019, I joined with Representative Alma Adams, North Carolina, to organize a Black Maternal Health Meeting to raise awareness in Congress about the maternal health crisis in our country and develop policy solutions to save the lives of mothers. This year, I am proud to lead our faction to re-introduce the Black Maternal Health Act, a package of 12 bills that includes a bipartisan policy to address all factors that contribute to adverse maternal health outcomes. The Black Mamnibus Maternal Health Act is based on the principle that every family in America has the right to prosperity, a principle that begins with safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

To fulfill this promise for every mother, Momnibus invests in community organizations, provides funding for the growth and diversification of the perinatal workforce, improves data collection, expands access to maternal mental health care, and strengthens programs that address social determinants of health such as housing, food and environmental risks.

We are uniquely positioned to fill gaps in our health care system to expand access to high-quality, affordable health care and improve health outcomes for every American. The Health Care Accessibility Act and the Black Women’s Maternal Health Act are essential investments that will save lives and support individuals, families, and communities in the United States for years to come. I look forward to working with my fellow Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, as well as the Biden administration, to bring this law into effect.

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