Nima Kulkarni
Representative | Louisville, KY

Kentucky Maternal and Infant Health Project

Idea Category: Healthcare


Kentucky is in a maternal mortality crisis. The rate of Kentucky women dying from pregnancy-related causes is more than double the national average, with the United States being last in maternal health outcomes among wealthy countries. This crisis is even worse for Black Kentuckians, for whom the infant mortality rate is almost double that of white Kentuckians, while maternal mortality is three to four times higher.


In 2021, the Kentucky House Democratic Women's Caucus filed a slate of 21 bills and resolutions designed to raise awareness of the maternal health crisis in our Commonwealth and improve health outcomes for birthing people and infants across Kentucky. The bills cover five broad areas: care for families, mental health, incarceration, access to care, and health equity. Examples of the proposed bills are: Requiring Medicaid to cover the cost of midwives and doulas, who are able to provide a less stressful birth environment and fewer health complications; Expanding the current assistance program for families having their first child (HANDS) to include maternal and postpartum depression referrals and services; Extending Medicaid coverage for up to a year for postpartum-related health issues (currently ends after 60 days); Establishing pregnancy as a qualifying event for health insurance to increase access to prenatal care for those who otherwise may not have health insurance; Removing sales taxes on breastfeeding equipment and having insurance cover these costs; Authorizing a maternal, fetal, and infant mortality working group; Establishing insurance coverage for maternal depression screenings at pediatric visits; Creating a child mental health services access program; Expanding access to pregnancy-related services for incarcerated women.

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Idea Category: Defending Democracy | Funding Source: ARP