Sacramento, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom announced that three major pieces of the SB 65, California Momnibus, authored by Senator Skinner, will be included in his budget proposal. The parts include Medi-Cal coverage for doulas starting January 1, 2022, extending Medi-Cal postpartum coverage to 12 months, and a guaranteed minimum income pilot for families with low-incomes.
“Thank you, Governor Newsom, for including expanded postpartum and doula services in Medi-Cal, and for recognizing more must be done to improve maternal and infant health outcomes, especially for Black and Indigenous Californians. These are essential elements of SB 65, the California Momnibus Act, as is the Universal Basic Income Pilot that was also included in today’s May Revision announcement,” said Senator Skinner, chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
The sponsors of the SB 65 California Momnibus applaud Governor Newsom for centering the lives of birthing people and families and look forward to working with the administration on the details of the pieces.
“California can only reduce maternal and infant disparities through real investment. We are thrilled that the Governor has proposed to expand postpartum Medi-Cal coverage and include doula services as a Medi-Cal benefit – two programs that will improve outcomes during childbirth and the critical year after for the Californians that need these benefits most, said Jen Flory, Policy Advocate, Western Center on Law & Poverty and cosponsor of SB 65.
SB 65 California Momnibus, is an innovative and comprehensive piece of legislation that aims to re-imagine perinatal care, while closing the existing racial gaps in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity within the state. As written, SB 65 would establish and codify a maternal mortality board, collect and give recommendations on how to close racial disparities in maternal health, examine impact of climate change on pregnancy outcomes, and for the first time in the state’s history, collect data on perinatal outcomes in Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Gender Non-Confirming, and Intersex communities.
“Although California has reduced the overall number of maternal deaths in the last 20 years, disparities still remain. Black women are more than 3 times more likely to die from childbirth, and in Los Angeles County that rate is over 5 times as high,” said Nourbese Flint, Executive Director of Black Women for Wellness Action Project and cosponsor on the legislation. “I’m excited to see that Gov. Gavin Newsom is taking much needed actions through California’s budget to address these long standing disparities and look forward to seeing these parts in the final budget.”
In addition, SB 65 expands health care via extended Medi-Cal eligibility for postpartum people by offering: doula care for Medi-Cal enrollees, investments in the midwifery workforce, and cash assistance for people with very low incomes through pregnancy and in the first years of their babies’ lives, all throughout California. These comprehensive services are needed to reduce the disproportionate health disparities that Black and Indigenous birthing people and babies face in California.
“The pandemic affected families and birthing people in both predictable and unpredictable ways, and especially laid bare the health care inequities that exist for Black birthing people, indigenous people, and people of color. SB 65 directly addresses these issues in an innovative and multi-faceted way,”said Holly Smith, MPH, CNM, Health Policy Chair of the California Nurse-Midwives Association, cosponsor of SB 65.
“From the start, SB 65 has relied on the championship of Senator Skinner and the groundswell of community support from families, birthing people, maternal health advocates, and others. We are ready to continue working with the budget leaders and the Newsom administration to press on with SB 65, California Momnibus,” said Amy Chen, Senior Staff Attorney at the National Health Law Program and cosponsor of SB 65.
“On behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice California and our 295,000 members, we are thrilled to see Governor Newsom prioritize maternal health in today’s budget revise,” said Shannon Olivieri Hovis, Director of NARAL Pro-Choice California and cosponsor of SB 65. “As California experiences unexpected budget windfalls, it is only right that some of those funds are dedicated to improving birth outcomes and closing California’s persistently high racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, especially for Black and Indigenous pregnant people.”
SB 65 is sponsored by Black Women for Wellness Action Project, The California Nurse Midwives Association, March of Dimes, National Health Law Program, Naral Pro-Choice California, Western Center on Law and Poverty, Women’s Foundation of California Women’s Policy Institute, and supported by over 70 health, rights, and justice organizations across California and the country.