At a stop Monday in Atlanta, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra applauded Georgia Democrats for pursuing a “workaround” to compel the state to expand the Medicaid program.
“There’s a proposal that the state has put on the table, and we’re reviewing it. We’d like to work with them. We’d like to make it work,” he said, adding: “Georgia’s in the conversation. We just have to do it right.”
Becerra spoke at a roundtable event focused on Black maternal health at the Center for Black Women Wellness in Atlanta. Physicians, midwives and advocates urged more federal funding aimed at reducing the stark disparity in the state’s maternal mortality rate, which leaves Black women four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women.
Many of the attendees said that while expanding Medicaid would be a welcome step, state and federal leaders need to take more drastic action to narrow the gap. They urged more money for pilot programs and research initiatives, along with new laws that allow midwives broader medical authorities.