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Public Papers - 1989

Statement on Maternal and Child Health Care Proposals


I look forward to meeting today with Secretary Sullivan to discuss our effort to improve the health of mothers and children.

As part of that effort, we are today forwarding to the Congress our maternal and infant health proposals. I hope the Congress will enact this legislation and will also act on my other Medicaid commitments: full funding of the ongoing Medicaid program in FY 90 and an additional appropriation of million to build our understanding of how best to improve maternal and infant health.

Infant and maternal health is an area where we must invest in the future. It is also an area where we must all be committed to improvement. I am particularly disturbed by the fact that the infant mortality rate for black infants is nearly twice that for whites.

This legislation does not do all that we want to do, but it does do what we can do at this time. In my February 9 address to the Nation, I said the budget we were submitting represented my best judgment of how we can address our priorities. This legislation shows that principle at work. Investing in the health of pregnant women, infants, and children is our highest priority for the Medicaid program. And that is why, at a time like today when resources are tight, when we have more desires than funds, we must move resources from certain lower priorities to the higher priority of maternal and infant health.

Maternal and infant health is equally important to Secretary Sullivan. He knows the issues; he knows the problems. I'm confident that his effort to put all the knowledge and talent in the Department of Health and Human Services behind this issue will yield substantial rewards for our nation's effort to improve maternal and infant health.

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