Senate Passes Bennet-Alexander Bill to Reduce Premature Births

PREEMIE Reauthorization Act will help reduce infant deaths and disabilities through increased research and prevention of premature births

U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today praised the Senate passage and urged swift House action on their bill to reduce infant deaths and disabilities by expanding research, education, and intervention activities related to preterm birth. The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday evening.

“In an average week in Colorado, 138 infants are born preterm. This bill will help our doctors and medical researchers who are working to find new and innovative ways to reduce the rate of preterm births,” Bennet, a member of the Senate HELP Committee, said. “It will help us better understand the causes and what steps can be taken to ensure these kids get the best start in life. The House should quickly pass this bipartisan and commonsense bill.”

“This bill will help the more than half a million babies born prematurely in the nation each year and the researchers working to prevent these births from happening too early in the first place,” said Alexander. “We have made great progress since we first put the spotlight on premature birth, but it remains a leading killer of newborns and a major cause of lasting disabilities. I salute the March of Dimes for its great efforts in reducing premature births, and I urge our colleagues in the House to pass this legislation.”

The “PREEMIE” bill passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee by voice vote in February. The legislation reauthorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) research and programs on preterm birth, including improving national data tracking on preterm birth, and conducting studies. The bill also reauthorizes programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration aimed at improving the treatment and outcome for infants born premature.

A companion bill was introduced in the House by Representatives Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.). The bill is supported by the March of Dimes Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.