ACAP Recognizes Rep. Lauren Underwood of Illinois with 2022 Congressional Leadership Award

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WASHINGTON—Today, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) recognized Representative Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) with its 2022 Congressional Leadership Award. This year, the award was given to a Member of Congress who worked to address disparities in maternal health outcomes and took action to alleviate the maternal mortality crisis.

Six of every ten maternal deaths in the United States are preventable. The burden of maternal mortality and morbidity disproportionately falls on the most vulnerable communities. The mortality rate for Black and Indigenous women is 2 to 4 times the rate for non-Hispanic white women. And the United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality when compared with other industrialized nations.

To address this tragic disparity in health outcomes in the richest country in the world, Rep. Underwood co-founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus, along with Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.). The Caucus is intended to advance policy solutions to improve maternal health outcomes and end disparities, especially around the Black maternal mortality crisis.

In 2021, Rep. Underwood introduced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021, which aims to improve maternal health, especially for racial and ethnic minority groups. The Momnibus calls for an increased investment in social determinants of health that impact maternal health outcomes, such as ensuring that expectant mothers have consistent access to nutritious foods. It also contains provisions to expand research and data collection efforts to better understand maternal health outcomes within tribal populations and minority groups.

“It’s hard to understand how the maternal mortality rate in our nation is, to cite just one example, nine times higher than that of Spain,” said ACAP CEO Meg Murray. “We’re proud to honor Representative Underwood not just for her dedication to tackling this issue, but for garnering support for this effort from both sides of the aisle. Maternal mortality is in a crisis state in the U.S., and it will take all of us to effectively address it.”

The award was presented at ACAP’s 2022 CEO Summit in Washington, D.C.

About ACAP:
ACAP represents 74 health plans, which collectively provide health coverage to more than 20 million people. Safety Net Health Plans serve their members through Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Marketplace and other publicly sponsored health programs. For more information, visit

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