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New Georgia commission will explore state’s maternal and infant health

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(The Center Square) — While Georgia Democrats continue to call for a Medicaid expansion, saying it could help address the state’s high maternal mortality rate, a bill the state’s Republican governor signed will create a commission to study maternal and infant health.

House Bill 1046, which Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed earlier this week, created the Georgia Commission on Maternal and Infant Health, tasked with making policy recommendations on perinatal care. It also authorizes advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants to complete and sign death certificates under the supervision of a physician.

“This comprehensive approach reflects our dedication to safeguarding the health and well-being of mothers and infants across our state,” state Rep. Lauren Daniel, R-Locust Grove, said in a statement. “The commission’s work will serve as a cornerstone in our ongoing efforts to build a healthier and more resilient healthcare system that prioritizes the needs of Georgia’s families.”

Under the measure, the governor will appoint six members to the 14-member commission, including an obstetrician, pediatrician or neonatologist, midwife and representative of a perinatal facility. The lieutenant governor will appoint three members, as will the speaker of the state House.

Commission members will gather opinions about Georgia’s perinatal care, weigh medical organizations’ recommendations, establish “quality measures,” make policy suggestions and submit recommendations by June 30, 2026.

While about 2.4 infants die every day in Georgia, most experts use broad strokes to address the topic rather than discussing the specifics that may cause an infant’s death.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Georgia Democrats held a media briefing to call attention to Black maternal health care and again call for a Medicaid expansion.

“Black women in particular, I would like to speak for because I’ve had four pregnancies. Two of them were critical. But I’m living in a different time where women’s reproductive rights have actually been decimated – where Medicaid expansion continues to be not on the table for Republicans in Georgia,” state Rep. Lydia Glaize, D-Fairburn, said, according to a recap the Democratic party sent.

“We can no longer sit at tables where Medicaid expansion for Georgia is not on the table, because we know the very lives of women who are birthing their children, and after birthing their child, are at stake,” Glaize added. “What do we need to do in Georgia? We must expand Medicaid.”

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