Wisconsin Congresswoman introduces bill to reimburse doulas and midwives

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - New mom Crystal Dubey is looking forward to a new bill being presented to Congress.

It's called the "Mamas First Act," and it's a way Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) hopes to improve access to health care for mothers and their babies.

The bill will use Medicaid to reimburse midwives and doulas.

Dubey said she can't imagine her pregnancy without her husband, Dan, and her doula, Emily.

"She got to know our hopes, our dreams, our fears," Dubey said. "She got to know what we needed and what were the best plans for us."

But some women aren't financially able to afford a doula like Crystal, or even a midwife.

"So I can't imagine them not being able to have the ability to have a resource like that," said Dubey.

That's why Congresswoman Moore is proposing the Mamas First Act, which would allow Medicaid to reimburse doulas and midwives for their services.

"She was there for me and my husband," said Dubey. "She provided support and taught my husband how to be a better support for me."

In the bill, Rep. Moore said doula-assisted mothers are four times less likely to have a low-birth-weight baby and two times less likely to experience a birth complication.

Crystal's doula, Emily Jacobson, believes the bill is a great first start.

"The hard part is that there is a group of women out there, particularly high risk or even minority women out there, who aren't getting access to this care because they simply just can't afford it," Jacobson said.

She said the bill has great intentions but needs more details.

"The huge question would be, what is the reimbursement rate and would it be sustainable for doulas," said Jacobson.

The next step for the Mamas First Act is trying to secure bipartisan support and a vote in the house.

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