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Call to action: Please help get the PREEMIE bill passed!
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The March of Dimes is working with Senators and Representatives from across the nation to enact the "PREEMIE" bill (S.707/H.R.2861), which would create a public-private agenda to accelerate the development of new strategies for preventing preterm birth and for treating babies who are born too soon. The principal bill sponsors are Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA). The Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent on August 1, 2006.
Currently, PREEMIE is awaiting action by the House of Representatives before it can be signed into law.
Please take a few minutes to call your U.S. Representative or attend a local event over the October recess and explain why it's important to be concerned about the growing rates of preterm birth. Describe your interest in prematurity and urge your
Representative to add his or her name to the growing list of cosponsors and do everything they can to secure enactment of PREEMIE before the end of the year. Even if your representative is already a co-sponsor, please contact them to ask for their help in ensuring House consideration before the end of the year.
You can visit http://thomas.loc.gov/ to find out if your Representative is a cosponsor – search for HR 2861 and click on the cosponsor link.
1) Call your U.S. Representative. The Capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121 will connect you to his or her office. Speak with the Representative directly, the Chief of Staff or the Legislative Aide responsible for health issues.
2) Attend a local event, such as a parade or town hall meeting, with your U.S. Representative. Speak directly to the Representative about the urgency of enacting PREEMIE this year. You can obtain information about local events in the following ways:
* Visit your Representative's website and look for upcoming events.
* Read the local newspaper which will advertise upcoming events.
* Call the Representative's district office. Their phone number is listed on their Congressional website.
* You're a constituent and have been personally affected by preterm birth (briefly explain your story and the impact on your family)
* The PREEMIE Act has strong bipartisan support and more than 90 House cosponsors.
* The PREEMIE Act must be passed this year and is desperately needed to stem the growing crisis of preterm birth.
* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 500,000 babies are born too soon each year. Since 1981, that number has increased by over 30%.
* The National Academy of Sciences (Institute of Medicine) estimates the economic burden of preterm birth in the US was at least $26.2 billion in 2005, or $51,600 per infant born preterm. Approximately half of the cost of health care is borne by employers and families with the remainder billed to Medicaid, SCHIP and other public programs.
* Ask your Representative to cosponsor PREEMIE and/or help move it to a House vote before the end of this Congress.