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Axios' Tina Reed and Rep. Lauren Underwood. Photo: Axios

The high maternal mortality rate for Black women in the U.S. is part of the systemic racism that permeates the country's health care system, Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) told Axios at virtual event on Thursday.

Why it matters: The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world, largely due to high mortality rates among Black mothers, according to research by Commonwealth Fund.

What she's saying: "So I'm a nurse. And when I was in nursing school, they would tell us about this maternal mortality disparity and say, you know, there's just something about Black women. And it's like, no, there's nothing wrong with Black women," Underwood, co-founder of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, said.

  • "This is a health care system that has systemic racism in its foundation. And so what we are trying to solve is a problem where Black birthing people are not heard, they're not listened to, and that there's these barriers in place of getting equal care and the best health care possible for the moms and the babies."
  • "In the United States today, Black birthing people are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than their white counterparts. So we have this dual crisis, maternal mortality and morbidity," she said.

Watch the full event here.

Go deeper

May 6, 2021 - Health

1 in 6 workers say health benefits are stopping them from leaving their job

Data: Gallup; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

One in six U.S. workers with employer insurance are staying in a job they may otherwise leave because they're afraid of losing their health benefits, according to a new West Health-Gallup survey.

Between the lines: Black and low-income workers are particularly likely to say they're staying at their job for the health benefits it provides. More than half of respondents said they were concerned that the costs of health care services and prescription drugs will continue to rise until they're unaffordable.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The mental health deal boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The positive social media response to Simone Biles withdrawing from Olympic competition highlights how the artificial line between health care and mental health care is finally beginning to dissolve. And startup investors have taken notice.

By the numbers: Venture capital investments in mental health startups rose 72.6% between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, per CB Insights.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

U.S. economy grew at a 6.5% rate last quarter, missing expectations

Contractors work on a home under construction. (Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The U.S. economy grew at an annualized 6.5% rate last quarter, the government said Thursday — slower than the 8.4% economists expected.

Why it matters: It came as the economy made strides toward further reopening, vaccinations rolled out and government stimulus bolstered spending. But supply crunches held the pace of growth back.