State lawmakers look for solutions to Georgia’s maternal mortality crisis

With Georgia’s maternal mortality rates among the worst in the country, state lawmakers and advocates gathered on Thursday to share ideas and solutions to improve outcomes.

The Georgia House Democratic Caucus hosted a statewide public hearing at the Georgia Capitol seeking answers to decrease worsening infant and maternal mortality throughout the state.

Over a dozen public comments were given, with testimony coming from health providers, community leaders and mothers.

Some solutions suggested included Medicaid expansion, increasing education around maternal mortality prevention for providers, paid leave for mothers and reducing restrictions for midwives.

“The bottom line is women, specifically Black women who become pregnant in Georgia are dying, and that simply does not have to be so,” said Staci Fox, chief executive officer and president of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

Georgia is one of 10 states to not expand Medicaid, the state-federal program that pays for health care for the poor, people with disabilities and many elderly patients. Because the state did not expand Medicaid, which was part of the Affordable Care Act, billions of federal dollars that are meant to support the state’s health systems are going unused. According to Fox, 46% of all births in Georgia are funded by Medicaid.

Georgia’s infant mortality increase last year was one of the four worst in the nation, with about seven babies dying for every 1,000 births.

Read the full article by the Atlanta Journal Constitution

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