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Via teleconference

10:11 am EST

VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Gene Sperling. Thank you for your exceptional service to our country over the years, including the work you have done to ensure that ARP is implemented quickly, efficiently and meaningfully. So thanks for this.

I believe our country is facing a maternal mortality crisis given the amount of work that we, as an administration, are doing with our partners. And – and this is evidenced by the fact that women in our country die from pregnancy-related causes more often than in any other developed country – they die before, during and after childbirth.

Black women are three times more likely to suffer from it and die from childbirth-related causes. Local women are twice as likely. There are one and a half times more rural women.

So, our administration has taken a historic action to raise this issue and protect the women of our nation. It is so simple.

Last year, we hosted the first ever Maternal Health Action Day at the White House. And this year, I was excited to bring our Cabinet members together to focus on maternal health, which followed, as Gene mentioned, a Call to Action to States to expand Medicaid coverage for postpartum women from 2 months to just 2 month – up to 12 months.

And most importantly, the ARP gives—and gives the states—the right to do so. So, again, the connection between this initiative and the details of ARP and its implementation is of great importance. And that’s important because, of course, Medicaid covers about 40 percent of all births nationwide, and one-third of pregnancy-related deaths occur between one and a half months and one year after birth.

Throughout my career, as Jean said, I truly believe that one of the top priorities of our public policy should be the health, safety and well-being of women, including maternal health. So, today we are proud to announce that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid Service – and Medicare Services will expand coverage and approve coverage expansions in Maine, Minnesota, in New York [New Mexico]and in Washington DC

This means that 235,000 women will now have access to 12 months of critical postpartum coverage in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

And I think I said New Mexico, and I’m sure… I… New York – and I definitely meant New Mexico – (laughs) – so I’ll come back to that.

But it also means that states now, under the leadership of outstanding leaders like Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, under Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, can step up and do what we know the women of America need and deserve. i.e. get help and get some idea of ​​what the realities of it are and what their needs are.
This is just the beginning. Our administration will continue to fight until every state expands Medicaid coverage. And to be clear, we are talking about the priority of the right of all women in our country to full reproductive health.

That’s what it’s all about. It is about understanding that all women in our country, regardless of their income, regardless of where they live, should have access to complete reproductive health.

So, together, of course, we will continue to work with our partners at the state level, at the local level, with our community and non-profit organizations, to ensure that every woman, every mother, has the health care she needs to thrive.

And with that, I will pass it back to the team. And – and thank you all.

END 10:15 AM EST

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