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H.R. 943: Social Determinants for Moms Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 8, 2021.

Social Determinants for Moms Act

This bill directs various federal departments to address social determinants of maternal health. These are nonclinical factors, such as economic or social factors, that impact maternal health outcomes.

First, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must convene a task force to coordinate federal efforts on social determinants of maternal health. HHS must also award grants to

support access to free child care during prenatal and postpartum appointments; and address social determinants of, and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in, maternal health. Second, the Department of Housing and Urban Development must award grants to community-based organizations and government entities to assist pregnant and postpartum individuals with affordable housing. Grantees may use funds to, for example, provide individuals with direct financial assistance.

Third, the Department of Transportation must report on transportation barriers that prevent pregnant and postpartum individuals from accessing health care and other services.

Fourth, the bill extends to 24 months the postpartum eligibility period for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Currently, WIC eligibility lasts for six months postpartum or one year for those breastfeeding. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) must evaluate the impact of this extension. USDA must also establish a grant program to deliver healthy foods and supplies to pregnant and postpartum individuals in food deserts.

Last, the Environmental Protection Agency must enter into an agreement with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to study the impact of environmental conditions and contaminants on maternal and infant health outcomes.