Oregon Tackles Rise in Maternal Deaths and Stark Racial Disparities

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The Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee will be tasked with providing recommendations to improving health outcomes and reducing deaths and complications from childbirth. Maternal deaths in the U.S. are five times as high as Sweden, and African-American women are almost four times as likely to die as white American women.

Rep. Janelle Bynum said that when her mother was born in Jim Crow South Carolina in the 1950s, her grandmother wasn’t allowed to give birth in a hospital.

Buehler and Steiner Hayward Want Additional Access to Birth Control

The House Health Committee is considering legislation that would allow pharmacists to dispense additional types of contraception without a doctor’s note, as well as a bill that will require the Oregon Health Plan to set up billing codes to allow hospitals to be paid for inserting IUDs after mothers have given birth.

The Legislature’s two physicians are backing legislation that would further increase access to birth control, pushing Oregon further to the forefront of women’s reproductive healthcare.

Health Advocates Want Year-Round Enrollment for Pregnant Women

Conception is not considered a life-changing event under the Affordable Care Act’s strict rules for women to get insurance outside of the open enrollment period, leaving a small number of women pregnant and uninsured. Oregon also has stingier coverage levels than other states when it comes to allowing pregnant women to get Medicaid. Advocates are asking the Insurance Division to require insurers to sell to women year round if they get pregnant, just as women qualify when they give birth.

Under current Oregon individual health insurance rules, giving birth to a baby is considered a life-changing event, one that allows a woman or her family to buy health insurance outside the open enrollment period.

Portland Think Tank Introduces New Approach to Decrease Childhood Illness

Nutrition, decreased environmental hazards key to preventing miscarriages, cancer, think tank says.

A Portland-based think tank is hopeful that a focused approach on the health of a mother before and during pregnancy could be the revolutionary breakthrough that helps prevent everything from miscarriages to neurological disorders such as autism.

Hayden and Health Committee Ponder Ways to Ensure Dental Care for Pregnant Women

Women who are eligible for state medical assistance because they are pregnant are not covered by the coordinated care organizations, leaving them with benefits but no speciality providers to take them. This leaves them unable to get access to dentists who can fix painful root canals or other procedures more complicated than what a primary care dentist can offer.

Oregon has some of the most generous health benefits for pregnant women, borne of the policy decision that ensuring a healthy start for new citizens will be one of the best investments steering a child toward a healthy, productive life.

Abortion Rates Lowest Since 1973 – But Pregnancies, Births Down As Well

In Oregon, the numbers dipped by 18 percent between 2008 and 2011

Abortion rates are at their lowest since 1973, when the Roe v. Wade court decision made the procedure legal, according to figures released by the Guttmacher Institute earlier this year.

Michelle Stranger-Hunter, executive director of NARAL and the Oregon Reproductive Health Foundation, noted that the study in question covers the years between 2008 and 2011. Between 2011 and 2013, more than 205 abortion restrictions passed in different states nationwide – more than in the previous decade, Stranger-Hunter said. (None of them passed in Oregon, which is the only state not to have passed any restrictions on abortion since Roe.)

House Passes Bill to Help Diabetic Women; Cancer Screening Money in Flux

A bill passed the House that eliminates copays for the additional costs that diabetic women face when pregnant, while the budget committee is struggling to determine how much tax money is needed to screen uninsured women for breast and cervical cancer. Both bills were initiatives of the Oregon Women’s Health and Wellness Alliance.


June 28, 2013 — The House passed a bill that will require insurance companies to cover the prenatal medical needs of diabetic women at no extra cost during pregnancy.

Regence BlueCross BlueShield Fights Free Prenatal Care for Diabetic Women

Supporters say the extra costs diabetic women face in pregnancy have led to some women quitting their jobs so they can qualify for Medicaid

February 8, 2013 -- Women with diabetes who get pregnant would have the medical costs of managing their condition covered at no extra cost under a House bill, but the measure provoked immediate opposition from Regence BlueCross BlueShield.

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