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Rep. Lightbody announces bill to improve prenatal and maternal health outcomes moves to governor's desk

Democratic priority bill helps address racial disparities in infant mortality rates
June 15, 2020
Mary Lightbody News

Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) today applauded the House concurrence of House Bill (HB) 11, moving this Democratic priority legislation to improve prenatal and maternal health outcomes to the governor’s desk for his signature.

“We must protect and help Ohio’s vulnerable most populations. Access to health care is paramount to improving health outcomes and saving the lives of black babies and their mothers in particular,” said Lightbody. “There has long been a significant divide in the health care systems across Ohio and this legislation is a step to addressing that divide.”

HB 11 would require the Ohio Department of Health to establish a grant program for the provision of group-based prenatal health care services to pregnant Medicaid recipients residing in areas of the state with high preterm birth rates. 

Additionally, the bill would require Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation medications and services.

According to a report by the Ohio Department of Health in 2018, black infants die in Ohio at more than two-and-a-half times the rate of white infants. The passage of HB 11 comes as Ohio House Democratic lawmakers continue to call for meaningful action to address racial health disparities, including the passage of HCR 31 to declare racism a public health crisis.