The Nation’s Health Secretary Has This Doctor on Call

by | May 2, 2023 | Health

SACRAMENTO — Carolina Reyes, a Harvard-trained physician who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, got into medicine to help women obtain health care, especially underserved or marginalized people who face systemic racism. She’s seen progress, albeit slow, over three decades, yet the number of maternal deaths each year continues to rise.

Luckily, she’s got the ear of President Joe Biden’s health secretary.

Reyes, 64, is married to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, who is championing the administration’s initiative to require all states to provide Medicaid coverage to mothers for a year after giving birth. In March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing a 40% increase in U.S. maternal deaths from 2020 to 2021. The mortality rate among Black women was 2.6 times that of white women, no matter their economic status.

Over the years, Becerra has spoken highly of his wife’s expertise, but she downplays her influence, saying her husband of nearly 35 years “had it in him to begin with” to improve health care for women and to demand fewer pregnancy-related deaths. She, too, describes the nation’s high maternal mortality rate as unacceptable and preventable.

Reyes, a Latina who grew up as one of eight children in California’s agricultural heartland, now practices perinatology at the University of California-Davis. She is a member of a California Department of Public Health panel that reviews cases of maternal deaths and recommends improvements. And she chairs the board of the California Health Care Foundation, a nonprofit that works to increase health care access. (California Healthline is an editorially independent service of the Calif …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This