A new study from the Commonwealth Fund — The High Costs of Maternal Morbidity Show Why We Need Greater Investment in Maternal Health — spells out in detail the costs of maternal morbidity in the United States and why our country should invest in maternal health.


  1. The U.S. has a maternal mortality ratio of 20 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, the worst among developed countries.
  2. Severe maternal morbidity in the U.S. doubled between 1998 and 2014.
  3. The cost of maternal morbidity for all births in 2019 is $32 billion.
  4. Maternal mental health conditions had the greatest cost ($18 billion).

Just a few points for comparison’s sake:

  1. The cost to extend pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage for a full year postpartum is $8 billion over ten years, or $800 million each year. This would allow full coverage for an additional 720,000 people.
  2. The full cost for implementing all aspects of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus is $1 billion.
  3. The federal government currently spends less than$25 million a year on maternal mental health, compared to a societal cost of $18 billion.

So…options are to invest about $10 billion or pay $32 billion. Hmmm….