Bipartisan legislation kickstarting a comprehensive review of the US military’s maternal care resources was introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) this week.
According to Senator Rubio’s office, pregnancy and childbirth are amongst the top reasons for admissions at military healthcare facilities.
However, reports of staffing shortages, accessibility difficulties, and patient dissatisfaction have prompted Rubio and colleagues to compel the military to conduct a review of the situation.
If passed, the Improving Access to Maternal Health for Military and Dependent Moms Act would require the Department of Defense (DoD) review maternal health care within the military and report the findings to Congress.
The results of the DoD’s review of maternal care services would have to be provided by the Secretary of Defense to Congress within 2 years of the legislation’s enactment.
Joining Rubio in introducing the bill were Senator Jon Tester and U.S. Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Terri Sewell (D-AL).
Rubio underscored the integral role of maternal care in ensuring military readiness.
““Ensuring the well-being of our military families means addressing the unique challenges mothers face while they, or their spouses, serve in the military,” stated Rubio.
Rubio continued via X, stating “it’s important our military mothers receive adequate maternal health care while stationed in the U.S. or overseas.”
Members of our military and their families face many unique challenges.
It's important our military mothers receive adequate maternal health care while stationed in the U.S. or overseas.https://t.co/h8jrx9rbtq
— Senator Marco Rubio (@SenMarcoRubio) February 1, 2024
If passed, the Secretary of Defense’s report to Congress on military maternal care would be comprehensive. Some of the required information would include details regarding availability of maternal care, identification of staffing shortages and barriers for access, timeliness of access to care, funds spent on maternal care, and legislative proposals to deal with identified challenges.
Congress has actively monitored health-related issues within the military.
Representative Waltz’s letter responded to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study providing “alarming findings” on military barrack’s conditions.
The GAO study included concerns of serious risks that could affect mental and physical health. These concerns include mold, broken fire alarms, methane gas leaks, and aging plumbing.