Representative Lisa Subeck Applauds Vice President Kamala Harris’s Call to Action for Improvements to U.S. Maternal Health Outcomes

MADISON – Yesterday, at the first-ever White House Maternal Health Day of Action, Vice President Kamala Harris issued a nationwide Call to Action to help improve maternal health outcomes in the United States, and addressed the impact of pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage as outlined in a new Department of Health and Human Services report. Additionally, Vice President Harris announced a proposal from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for the establishment of a “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation and state guidance to cover Medicaid postpartum services for a year.

“With maternal mortality rates continuing to rise at alarming rates in the United States, Vice President Harris’s announcement to address this crisis with solutions such as updates to Medicaid coverages and ‘Birthing-Friendly’ hospitals is welcome progress,” said Rep. Subeck. “Expanding Medicaid coverage from two months to twelve will be an extraordinary safety net for new mothers, babies, and their families.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the primary causes of pregnancy related deaths from 2014-2017 include cardiovascular conditions, infections, hemorrhage, thrombotic pulmonary or other embolism, Cerebrovascular accidents, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, among others. Significant ethnic/racial disparities are also a contributing factor to maternal health outcomes. Wisconsin continues to rank as one of the worst states for maternal health outcomes and is the worst state in regards to racial disparities and infant mortalities. Three decades worth of data illustrate black, Hispanic, and Indigenous women outpace white women in both infant and maternal mortality rates in Wisconsin.

Bills introduced in Wisconsin this legislative session to address maternal health outcomes include, among others:

  • Expanded post-partum eligibility for Medicaid (SB 562)
  • Eliminating the Collection of Birth Expenses through Medical Assistance (SB 655)
  • Healthy Babies, Working Mothers Act (AB 476)
  • Maternal Mental Health Coverage under Medical Assistance (SB 668)
  • Dental Health Coverage for Pregnant Persons under Medical Assistance (SB 670)
  • Post-Partum Home Visits (SB 667)
  • Sales Tax Exemption for Breastfeeding Equipment (AB 700)
  • Expanding Medicaid (AB 444)


“The Biden Administration’s commitment to maternal health outcomes through his Build Back Better initiative will provide a boost to addressing issues new mothers and their babies face, which is one more reason we need Congress to pass this much needed legislation,” said Rep. Subeck. “And here in Wisconsin, my Democratic colleagues and I are working to pass legislation to help moms and babies right here at home. It’s a shame Republicans continue to stall efforts to address Wisconsin’s abysmal maternal-infant health disparities.”

Representative Lisa Subeck has represented the 78th Assembly District since 2015 and serves as vice-chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus.