After revealing ambitious policy proposals for affordable child care and student loan forgiveness, Elizabeth Warren has unveiled a proposal specifically targeting maternal mortality rates. While the rate of maternal deaths has been declining in similarly wealthy countries, it continues to climb in the United States. Warren announced a policy targeting this alarming trend at the She the People conference in Texas, CNN reports. Her idea: use money as an incentive by giving bonuses to providers that successfully reduce maternal mortality rates, and taking away money from providers that fail to lower the number of deaths.
“I want to see the hospitals see it as their responsibility to address this problem head-on and make it a first priority. The best way to do that is to use money to make it happen, because we gotta have change and we gotta have change now,” she said.
More women and infants die in the U.S. than in any other developed country, and black mothers are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. Unsurprisingly, the staggering racial gap between black mothers is explained by systematic racism both within the medical community and in discrepancies in the ability access quality healthcare between white people and black people. The racial disparity exists even after adjustments for income and education.
“The best studies that I’ve seen put it down to just one thing—prejudice,” Warren said, acknowledging the disparity. “That doctors and nurses don’t hear African American women’s issues the same way that they hear things from white women. We gotta change that and we gotta change it fast because people’s lives are at stake.”