Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Historic Health Care Bill for Women, Maternity Care and Midwives

I just watched President Obama sign into law the health care bill. People may disagree about this bill and what it means for our future. I'm not going to discuss the total bill. What is important to me is something few people are aware of. Buried in this bill is a very important piece of legislation that speaks directly to women & midwives. Because of the passage of this bill women on Medicaid can now seek midwifery care from both a Certified Nurse Midwife or a Certified Professional Midwife and birth their babies in out of hospital birth centers. This is a huge step forward for CPMs in their desire to be acknowledged as birth professionals providing safe care for healthy moms and babies during birth. It will make birth centers more financially viable due to Medicaid reimbursement and therefore will lead to more birth centers being opened and more out of hospital births occurring. This is greatly needed at this time in our country to balance the current medical birth climate and bring down the huge cost of maternity care.

I was very proud to watch our Representative, Congresswoman Lois Capps, at the signing ceremony. I would like to thank her for her dedication and work, for her caring about women's health issues and for her support of midwives & midwifery. I would like to thank the women who cared enough to take the time to sit down with me and Betsy Umhofer, Rep. Capps local liaison, and present to her why she should support this important piece of legislation: Jessica Elliott, past president of BBRN & current midwife in training, Edana Hall, Licensed Midwife, Miday Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwife, Megan Bochum, past local International Cesarean Awareness Network leader and student midwife, Janet Murphy, Cal Poly Child Development Specialist, and Stephanie Wilson, LMST and SLO-Child Abuse Prevention Council Postpartum Depression Specialist. It was women like this all around the country speaking up that made this moment in our history happen. Congratulations!

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