February 19, 2021

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

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) announced today that they are introducing 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.

 

“Anyone with a newborn is anxious to ensure that their baby is healthy and remains that way,” Senator Hassan said. “This bipartisan legislation will help educate parents about the importance of screening their newborns and provide funding to help states strengthen this important public health program. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill that will expand comprehensive testing to newborns and help save lives.”

 

“Every newborn deserves the best medical care available,” Senator Wicker said. “Detecting common disorders early with a standard screening test can have a dramatic impact on the health and wellness of a child. I am glad to join this bipartisan effort to save lives and improve outcomes for our children.”

 

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 to ensure laboratory quality. Each year, these screenings result in more than 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 was introduced last month by Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Mike Simpson (ID-02), Katherine Clark (MA-05), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03).

 

Senator Hassan is working to support maternal and newborn health, and introduced the bipartisan Connected Maternal Online Monitoring Services (MOM) Act last year to require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to provide coverage recommendations for remote devices to check blood pressure, blood glucose, and pulse rates to improve maternal and infant outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women. Senator Hassan also joined her colleagues in introducing legislation in 2019 to expand health care options for expectant mothers. The Healthy Maternal and Obstetric Medicine (Healthy MOM) Act would ensure that all women eligible for coverage through the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces, as well as women eligible for other individual or group health plan coverage, can access affordable health coverage throughout their pregnancies.

 

To read the text of the bill, click here.

 

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