The state of Michigan isn’t doing enough to address the disproportionally high rate of infant mortality in African American communities, according to a recent report by the Michigan League for Public Policy.
Wayne (10.7 percent), Saginaw (8.7 percent) and Ionia (8.7 percent) counties have the highest infant mortality rates in the state. Livingston (3.4 percent), Ottawa (4.1 percent) and Allegan (4.2 percent) counties have the lowest, Department of Health and Human Services statistics show.
Ninety-one percent of white women in Michigan possess health insurance coverage, 4 percent higher than African American women. However, black infants are three times more likely to die than white infants, according to the department.
This disparity is greater now than in 1850, 15 years before slavery ended, according Mothering Justice, a nonprofit in Detroit that advocates for mothers.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently proposed a $37.5 million program — named “Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies” — that would extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers and give additional funding for at-home visits for mothers who may not be able to visit a doctor.