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America has an unacceptably high rate of maternal deaths

Posted Thursday, September 22, 2016 by Tyler Goldberg-Hoss

A recent study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology details how America is lagging behind nearly every other member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in its rate of maternal death. Looking at death rates from member states from 2000 and 2014, only Mexico had a higher rate of maternal death.

An editorial in the NY Times recently considered the findings in this study, noting that a large part of the problem is the inequality in medical care in America. While the 2010 Affordable Care Act made health insurance more available, many states including Texas have refused to expand Medicaid under the ACA for ideological reasons. Further, and again for ideological reasons, many states have cut funding for women’s health care, and in particular Planned Parenthood.

Increasing the number of citizens with health insurance, and restoring funding for women’s reproductive health programs, certainly would not hurt the maternal death rates in Texas and other states. And more broadly, systems to increase the availability of state of the art treatments for causes of maternal mortality and systems to confidentially review and learn from all maternal deaths may help reduce the rates.

You can read the full NY Times editorial here:

America’s Shocking Maternal Deaths

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