June 28, 2018: NPR/SCPR/KPCC/LAIST - America's Black Babies Are Paying For Society's Ills. What Will We Do To Fix It?

June 28, 2018

By Priska Neely

Below is an excerpt on Sen. Holly J. Mitchell in this lengthy. Link to complete original story, including photos, HERE:

The Black Infant Health program got some good news in the latest California budget. Sen. Holly Mitchell, who chairs the budget committee, secured an additional $8 million for the program -- doubling the current funds available for the 15 counties that administer it.

Mitchell says issues of race often prompt eyerolls from the public and public officials.

"For some, it feels so big and so overwhelming, it's like, 'I can't begin to solve that issue,'" she said. "For others, there's just fundamental disbelief. There's a disbelief that explicit and implicit bias can have a direct impact on a person's ability to live, survive and be healthy in this country."

Setting that aside, Mitchell says she believes the funding she's backed may ultimately save money.

A preterm birth costs an employer 12 times as much as an uncomplicated birth -- upwards of $54,000 compared to $4,389, according to analysis by March of Dimes.

"We're looking at, not only the human element, of not addressing a huge, glaring disparity, but let's talk about the public cost to the hospitalizations and the long-term medical care for preterm infants. It's huge," said Mitchell. "So if we can invest on the front end, preventive dollars to help improve birth outcomes, why wouldn't we?"