267233 Eliminating disparities in maternal mortality: The Affordable Care Act as a tool for health equity

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 1:10 PM - 1:30 PM

Byllye Avery , Black Women's Health Imperative, Provincetown, MA
Globally, the United States ranks 40th in maternal mortality, far below nations with similar levels of wealth, health care resources and health care spending. Even more shameful, the majority of those deaths are preventable, and they are concentrated in communities of color. Black women are at least three times more likely to die from pregnancy complications as white women, and Latinas also suffer disproportionately. Though there are certainly multiple contributing factors, lack of access to health care is one of the likely root causes. Therefore women's health and health equity advocates see great potential in the changes taking place today. By expanding eligibility for the Medicaid program and establishing subsidies to make health insurance more affordable, the Affordable Care Act is making it possible for many more low-income women to get access to the health care system. By guaranteeing coverage for maternity care and making women's preventive health services available without extra charges, the law is making the health services that women need to have healthy pregnancies affordable for women who may have struggled in the past to get the care they needed. And by increasing funding to community health centers and helping to train a more diverse health care workforce, the law is reforming the system so that it can better serve the needs of women of color and poor women.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participant will be able to (1) describe racial disparities in maternal mortality and (2) identify provisions of the health reform law that can reduce maternal mortality and advance health equity

Keywords: Access to Health Care, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on maternal health since the 1970s when I co-founded the Gainesville (Florida) Women's Health Center and later, Birthplace, an alternative birthing centre, also in Gainesville. I am a co-founder of Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need, and founder of the National Black Women’s Health Project (now known as the Black Women’s Health Imperative).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.