During National Women’s Health Week, we come together to promote and support the health and well-being of our Nation’s mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, and friends. We also recommit to ensuring that women have access to the best health information, care, and treatment. With comprehensive healthcare services and support, women will continue strengthening our country.
While our Nation has made great progress in women’s health, including lowering the mortality rates for heart disease and breast cancer, there is still much work to be done. In the United States, a woman suffers a heart attack every 100 seconds. In a survey conducted by the American Heart Association, 1 in every 3 women reported that they would not call 9-1-1 even if they thought they were experiencing a heart attack. We encourage all Americans to better understand the warning signs of a heart attack, such as chest pain, sudden shortness of breath, and dizziness, and to call 9-1-1 the moment they experience these symptoms.
My Administration is also working to reduce high rates of pregnancy-related mortality and severe maternal morbidity. Approximately 700 women die from pregnancy-related complications each year, and as many as 50,000 experience unexpected outcomes during labor and delivery that can have short-term and long-term health consequences. We have focused efforts on improving access to high-quality care, understanding the causes of maternal mortality and morbidity, and implementing local solutions to save the lives of mothers.
Another key part of promoting women’s health is the effort to end surprise medical billing and support price transparency. The seen and unseen costs of healthcare take an enormous toll on American families. It is crucial that patients receiving scheduled care have information about whether providers are in or out of their network and what their care may cost. Further, as I explained in the principles I sent to Congress last week, we should take steps to ensure that patients receiving emergency care are not forced to shoulder extra costs billed by a care provider but not covered by their insurer.
In addition to focusing on these healthcare priorities, my Administration will continue to address one of the most pressing issues for women in our country—the opioid crisis. Over the past 2 years, we have secured $6 billion in new funding to combat the epidemic. My fiscal year 2020 budget proposal would also enable States to more easily provide one year of postpartum Medicaid coverage for women with a substance use disorder. This critical funding could help improve outcomes for mothers and their infants, potentially providing life-saving treatment for thousands of women and children across the country. HHS has also taken action to introduce the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) model through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center, which will partner with States to deliver well-coordinated, high-quality care to pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder.
During this 20th annual National Women’s Health Week, my Administration reaffirms our commitment to help improve women’s health so that they may live fuller, healthier lives. By working together, we can ensure that all generations of American women thrive, as they continue to drive the success of our great Nation.