Examining the effect of extended postpartum coverage brought by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, policy experts present evidence that ensuring access to care for 12 months after giving birth is a key strategy to address the U.S. maternal mortality crisis. The authors note that Medicaid is used predominantly in rural areas and by individuals who are racial/ethnic minorities. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show significantly higher rates of maternal death in 2021. A separate report from the CDC, out last month, reveals 1 in 5 women reported mistreatment while receiving maternity care, with clear disparities by race/ethnicity and insurance types. The FORHP-funded Rural Health Research Centers have increased their work on this issue in the last three years, following an earlier determination that rates of maternal mortality have long been higher for rural residents.
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