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United States Senate approves PREEMIE Bill!
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By unanimous vote on Tuesday, August 1, 2006, the United States Senate approved the 'PREEMIE' Bill( S. 707/H.R. 2861). This legislation would expand research into prematurity; increase public and health professional education .
March of Dimes President, Dr. Jennifer L. Howse issued a statement commending the Senate action that was released at press conference on Capitol Hill, Thursday, August 3, 2006
“Today, on behalf of 3 million active volunteers and 1400 staff of the March of Dimes working in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, I commend the United State Senate for approving the “PREEMIE” bill. I particularly thank the bill sponsors, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT), and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee, for his leadership in bringing the bill to a vote in the Senate. I also thank the 39 Senate cosponsors for their endorsement of this measure that sets the stage for expanding federal support for much needed research into the causes of premature birth. One of the first steps called for in the bill is convening a Surgeon General’s conference on preterm birth to establish a public-private agenda designed to speed development of prevention strategies for preterm labor and delivery
"Premature birth is one of the most common, serious and costly problems facing America's infants, affecting more than 500,000 babies in the U.S. each year, and causing disability and death in too many cases. The seriousness of the problem of premature births was brought into sharp focus by a recent report from the Institute of Medicine that estimates preterm birth cost the United States more than $26.2 billion in 2005 in terms of medical care, lost household and labor market productivity and early intervention services. An earlier study by the March of Dimes estimated that the in-patient hospital charges alone were $18.1 billion in 2003, 44% of which was billed to employers and other private plans and 49% to Medicaid. Enactment of the 'PREEMIE’ bill should be a House priority this year. March of Dimes volunteers and staff are working across the country to obtain swift approval of this measure in the House.”
The bill must now be approved by the House of Representatives.
Thank you all who wrote in to you Senators! Stay tuned for more details and how you can help.