July 18, 2019

Senators Hassan, Gardner Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Save Newborn Babies’ Lives

WASHINGTON Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) today introduced the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act, a bipartisan bill to help save lives and improve the health of newborn babies by providing federal funding for comprehensive and standardized newborn screening tests for conditions such as critical congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, and hearing loss. The tests can identify treatable conditions that, if caught early, can prevent serious illness, lifetime disabilities, and even death.

“It’s vital that every parent understand and have access to life-saving newborn screening,” Senator Hassan said. “Over the last decade, we’ve seen the powerful impact that this program has made for families, and I’m proud to be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure its continued funding.”

“As a parent, I know how important early screening is. Identifying genetic disorders in a newborn early on can be the key difference between life and death,” Senator Gardner said. “Early treatment from newborn screening can save families, the taxpayer, and the health care system millions of dollars down the road. I urge Congress to reauthorize this program to ensure that states have the support they need to continue critical screenings for newborn babies.”

“Newborn screening is one of the great public health success stories of our age,” Representative Roybal-Allard said.  “The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act continues the oversight, coordination, and advancements made possible by my first and second Newborn Screening laws, by helping more newborn babies receive the comprehensive and consistent testing they need to live healthy, happy, and productive lives.  I am grateful to Senators Hassan and Gardner, and to my partners on the House bill, Congressmembers Mike Simpson, Katherine Clark, and Jaime Herrera Beutler, for championing the reauthorization of this critical bill, so that we can help ensure a baby’s birthplace does not determine its chance at a healthy future.”

The bipartisan Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act – which builds on the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2008 – provides funding for state programs that screen newborns for a complete panel of disorders, as recommended by experts, and that educate parents and providers about the disorders. The bill also includes additional funding to support states’ follow-up and tracking programs, as well as laboratory quality. Each year, these screenings result in over 12,000 newborns being diagnosed with disorders, many of which can be treated even before symptoms begin to appear. The House version of the bill, led by Representatives Roybal-Allard, Mike Simpson, Katherine Clark, and Jaime Herrera Beutler, was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this week.  

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