Washington, D.C. — The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee today passed legislation sponsored by U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to reduce infant deaths and improve infant health by continuing research and education programs aimed at preventing preterm births.
“About 1 in 10 babies were born premature in 2016, including nearly 9 percent of babies in Colorado,” Bennet said. “It’s promising that we passed this bill in committee today to expand on the important research and education initiated by the PREEMIE Act. It’s important that the Senate pass this bill to help combat the opioid epidemic and ensure mothers and babies receive the care they need. Every child deserves a healthy start in life, and this law will help ensure that.”
The PREEMIE Act was first signed into law in 2006 and reauthorized in 2013. The program expires this year on September 30. After passing the Senate HELP Committee today, the legislation is now due for consideration before the full Senate.
This legislation reauthorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) research and data collection on infants born premature and reauthorizes programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration aimed at improving the treatment and outcomes of infants born premature. This includes grants to help doctors and the public understand the potential risk factors for having a preterm baby, such as smoking, and grants to screen and treat expectant mothers for substance use disorders, including opioid use disorders. This reauthorization also includes updated language to address maternal health.