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senate Bill S. 3029

Should Federal Research on Premature Births Be Reauthorized?

Argument in favor

Premature births are risky for infants’ mortality and also increase babies’ odds of later health and developmental complications. The PREEMIE Act has helped reduce premature birth rates in the U.S. and funded important research on this topic, and this bill reauthorizes and improves it.

A's Opinion
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12/11/2018
All federal science funding should be increased (and arts funding) and we should eliminate gratuitous military spending.
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David 's Opinion
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12/11/2018
This is part of what a pro-life agenda is about. Need to follow with universal single payer healthcare, housing, food security, and education.
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Jennifer's Opinion
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12/11/2018
Premature births are risky for infants’ mortality and also increase babies’ odds of later health and developmental complications. The PREEMIE Act has helped reduce premature birth rates in the U.S. and funded important research on this topic, and this bill reauthorizes and improves it.
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Argument opposed

While scientific research has improved premature babies’ chances of survival and living long, healthy lives, it hasn’t eradicated chronic health issues and developmental complications that affect some premature babies. It’s questionable how much more can be done to improve the situation.

Mark's Opinion
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12/12/2018
Only if we are willing to study why, we as a nation have institutionalized and yes even cheered the murdering of 72 million unborn children since the passage of Roe v. Wade. Otherwise what’s the point? Sorry folks, but the “truth will out’ as they say.
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Morris's Opinion
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12/12/2018
Let the University and the Medical community study such things and keep the Government out of it.
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samiam6's Opinion
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12/11/2018
If the Republicans weren't subsidizing the wealthy 1% we would have plenty of money for this and many others.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house Passed December 11th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 406 Yea / 3 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • The senate Passed September 12th, 2018
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    IntroducedJune 7th, 2018

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What is Senate Bill S. 3029?

This bill — the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act of 2018 — would reauthorize the PREEMIE Act of 2006 to renew several federal initiatives aimed at preventing and treating preterm birth and its complications. It’d reauthorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) research and data collection on premature infants, as well as programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) aimed at improving the treatment and outcomes of infants born prematurely. That’d include grants to help doctors and the public understand the potential risk factors, such as smoking, that contribute to having a preterm baby, as well as grants to screen and treat expectant mothers for pregnancy depression and substance use disorders, including opioid abuse.

The bill would also extend the HRSA Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality and updates the Committee’s charge to examine severe maternal morbidity.

As a new initiative, this bill would establish an advisory committee at HHS to coordinate all federal activities and programs related to preterm birth, infant mortality, and other adverse birth outcomes.

It’d also update language in the PREEMIE Act to address maternal health.

Impact

Premature infants; high-risk pregnancies; pregnant women; pregnancy research; HRSA; CDC; and HHS.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 3029

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced this bill to reduce infant deaths and improve infant health by continuing research and education programs aimed at preventing preterm births:

“In Tennessee, 11 percent of infants are born prematurely, putting them at an increased risk of complicated health problems. Since 2006, [the PREEMIE Act] has helped researchers, doctors, and parents prevent premature births, so it is important that we continue our work to give more babies the chance for long and healthy lives. This legislation includes updates to account for the opioid crisis, which has led to babies being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, and to support the expectant mother—so that she has a healthy pregnancy and her baby is born healthy.”

Original cosponsor Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) added that premature births are a national issue, and the PREEMIE Act funds important research and education that also combats the opioid crisis:

“About 1 in 10 babies was born premature in 2016… We must reauthorize this bipartisan law to continue and expand on the important research and education that was started in 2006 as a result of the PREEMIE Act. This reauthorization will also combat the opioid crisis with a focus on screening and treatment for substance use disorders, so that mothers and babies can receive the care they need.  Every child deserves a healthy start in life, and this law will help ensure that.”

March of Dimes supports this bill. Its President, Stacey D. Stewart, says passage of the PREEMIE Act would reaffirm the U.S.’ commitment to ensuring healthy pregnancies:

"Preterm birth continues to be an under-recognized and under-appreciated crisis in maternal and child health. Today, one in every 10 U.S. babies is born too soon, placing them at risk for a range of health consequences. Passage of the PREEMIE Act reaffirms the Senate's commitment to ensuring that every pregnancy is healthy and every baby gets the best possible start in life."

In a letter to Sens. Alexander and Bennet, March of Dimes and a coalition of maternal and child health organizations wrote about the cost of preterm birth in the U.S.:

“Preterm birth is the leading contributor to infant death, and those babies who survive are more likely to suffer from intellectual and physical disabilities. In addition to its human, emotional, and financial impact on families, preterm birth places a tremendous economic burden on our nation. A 2006 report by the National Academy of Medicine found the cost associated with preterm birth in the United States was $26.2 billion annually, or $51,600 per infant born preterm. Employers, private insurers and individuals bear approximately half of the costs of health care for these infants, and another 40 percent is paid by Medicaid.”

In their letter, March of Dimes and the other organizations also noted racial disparities in maternal health outcomes and the recent rise in preterm birth rates from 2015-2018, both of which warrant renewing the U.S.’ efforts to ensure healthy pregnancies:

“The original PREEMIE Act (P.L. 109-450) brought the first-ever national focus to prematurity prevention. For several years after its passage, preterm birth rates dropped by small but significant increments. Unfortunately, for the past three years, preterm birth rates have once again risen. In particular, troubling racial disparities in preterm birth persist, with black women experiencing preterm birth rates more than 50% higher than white women. Clearly, our nation must redouble its efforts to ensuring that every pregnancy and baby is as healthy as possible.”

Although new technologies have helped raise the survival rates for babies born extremely prematurely, they haven’t significantly improved the chances for these babies to grow up without serious impairment. This has led some neonatologists and other medical professionals to question the definition of survival for micro preemies and whether intensive medical intervention is always the best choice given their continued medical needs, specialized care needs, and the expenses their families and society incur. An article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2006 calls the use of neonatal intensive care on infants born before 27 weeks of gestation a “fundamental controversy in neonatology.”

John Pardalos, a neonatologist at the University of Missouri Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Mid-Missouri, points out that there are significant costs associated with extreme preemies’ survival:

“As more of these babies are surviving now, we are creating a generation of babies that will need more help in elementary school and in high school because of the learning issues that they might have or the physical disabilities they might need to overcome when they get older… Yes, I think we are creating more disabled kids, but I think we also have a lot of kids that are completely normal, even though they started little, and are full, participating humans in our society 20, 30, 40 years down the road. So it's hard for me to say ‘You're going to be great and you’re not.’ We just have to take the chances and treat everyone like they will be able to survive and do well on their own in the future.”

This bill passed the Senate unanimously with an amendment and has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. It has the support of 12 Senate cosponsors, including nine Democrats and three Republicans, and a range of maternal and child health organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Pediatrics, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Children's Hospitals Association, and First Focus.


Of NoteSen. Alexander introduced the PREEMIE Act in 2003, and it was first signed into law in 2006 and reauthorized in 2013. It needs to be reauthorized again, or else many of its programs will expire. After the original PREEMIE Act’s passage, the U.S.’ preterm birth rate dropped each year, falling to a historic low in 2014.

Every year, over 380,000 infants are born preterm in the U.S. Premature birth and its complications are the leading cause of infant death in the U.S., and premature infants who survive are more likely to suffer from intellectual and physical disabilities than infants born at full term.

In 2007, the Institute of Medicine estimated that premature birth in the U.S. costs $26.2 billion a year. This includes:

  • $16.9 billion in medical and health care costs for the baby;

  • $1.9 billion in labor and delivery costs for mothers;

  • $611 million for early intervention services;

  • $1.1 billion for special education services; and

  • $5.7 billion in lost work and pay for people born prematurely.

Premature babies may have a harder time in school than babies born on time, as they’re more likely to have learning and behavior problems throughout childhood, potentially having low test scores, having to repeat grades, and needing special education services. One in three children born prematurely needs special school services at some point during their school years, costing $2,200 a year per child.

Later on in life, premature birth can affect a person’s ability to work, the amount of work they can do, or both. Some adults who were born prematurely may have long-term health conditions that can affect their ability to work.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Yobro10)

AKA

PREEMIE Reauthorization Act of 2018

Official Title

A bill to revise and extend the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early Act (PREEMIE Act).

    Look a ACTUAL PRO LIFE BILL.
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    Only if we are willing to study why, we as a nation have institutionalized and yes even cheered the murdering of 72 million unborn children since the passage of Roe v. Wade. Otherwise what’s the point? Sorry folks, but the “truth will out’ as they say.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    All federal science funding should be increased (and arts funding) and we should eliminate gratuitous military spending.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    This is part of what a pro-life agenda is about. Need to follow with universal single payer healthcare, housing, food security, and education.
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    Premature births are risky for infants’ mortality and also increase babies’ odds of later health and developmental complications. The PREEMIE Act has helped reduce premature birth rates in the U.S. and funded important research on this topic, and this bill reauthorizes and improves it.
    Like (3)
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    Now that’s what I call a Pro-Life Bill!
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    We have a high infant mortality rate compared to other 1st world countries. If we want to correct that, funding programs like this is crucial.
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    Let the University and the Medical community study such things and keep the Government out of it.
    Like (1)
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    I spent 16 years working in neonatal intensive care nurseries. Education is critical, along with outreach and support. Many of these babies belong to babies. I remember one that sticks in my memory. a young mother came into the nursery to see her baby in a disney nightgown and disney slippers.
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    If the Republicans weren't subsidizing the wealthy 1% we would have plenty of money for this and many others.
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    2006 and we still need funding? What have they accomplished in 12 years? Or is this just another never ending taxpayer fund boondoggle?
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    And this should include full funding for planned parenthood that directly acts as a positive factor on pregnant women and young kids
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    With our "advanced nation" becoming one of the first in infant mortality rates, I fully support this bill. Early medical problems result in lifelong and expensive medical issues.
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    My daughter was born at 28 weeks and with a short stay in the hospital she was on her was to being a normal beautiful little girl. But many others where not so lucky, her neighbors in the neonatal area where twins that were born at 29 weeks, because of the shared space before they were born they had many complications and Jack even passed away after a couple days leaving his loving family and sister Jill behind. We have come along way but there is no need to stop, these babies still need our help.
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    Premature births are risky for infants’ mortality and also increase babies’ odds of later health and developmental complications. The PREEMIE Act has helped reduce premature birth rates in the U.S. and funded important research on this topic, and this bill reauthorizes and improves it.
    Like (1)
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    All human life should be given every opportunity to thrive no matter what circumstances they may be in. It is because of this type of research that dear friends of mine were able to deliver their baby girl at just 26 weeks. She is now healthy and so full of joy.
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    Is there any data that says this previous research has been effective? Also, throwing opioid addiction language seems to be the new catch phrase to get any type of bill through Congress, which makes me suspicious of this Bill now.
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    Good public health is in the public interest. Hence the following: Anti drunk driving laws, Anti smoking efforts, Freeway guard rails, Toxic waste disposal requirements....
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    Let’s take care of our children. Please
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    Wouldn't defunding Planned Parenthood have the same benefit?
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