Health Care Reform Presents an Opportunity and an Imperative for CPMs

The tide is turning at last in the United States for health care reform. Just in the last few months, a growing number of states have proposed or adopted plans to provide universal access to health care for their citizens, and several federal legislative proposals are on the table. It has become clear that national health care reform will be the number one domestic topic of the 2008 presidential campaign.

This rapidly rising tide of reform presents an immediate opportunity to Certified Professional Midwives to participate in the design of these reforms and to integrate CPMs into a reformed national maternity care system. NACPM is working now to assemble the tools that will be needed to ensure that midwifery as practiced by CPMs will be viable into the future, and that it will hold a secure place in our health care system as it emerges from the current health care reform efforts.

It is imperative that CPMs do not sit on the sidelines while health care reform unfolds. To do so would imperil hard-won advances made for midwifery in the states over the past 30 years. Without CPMs at the table, our services will be left out of maternity care packages offered in reformed health care plans at both the state and federal level. (See Susan Jenkins’ reference to Congressman John Conyers’ health care reform bill in her article in this newsletter, as one example.) In addition, it is clear that the time has come to secure federal recognition of the CPM as a means to ensure that CPMs are included in the national list of providers of maternity care. Therefore, NACPM’s Strategic Plan focuses on CPM participation in health care reform opportunities, and on federal recognition of CPMs as primary providers of maternity care.