OPINION: Ask Noem to support the House’s bill on infant careEvery day, one in eight infants is born premature in our nation.
By: Wendy Lewis , Guest columnist
As a constituent, and someone who deeply cares about the health of our nation’s babies, I am asking the readership to send a letter to Rep. Kristi Noem to cosponsor and support passage of the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act (S. 1440/H.R. 2679) during the lame duck session.
Every day, one in eight infants is born premature in our nation.
Preterm delivery can happen to any pregnant woman, and in more than half the cases the underlying causes are unknown.
Preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal 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 Institute 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.
The original PREEMIE Act (P.L. 109-450) brought the first-ever national focus to prematurity prevention.
The Surgeon General’s Conference on the Prevention of Preterm Birth created by the Act generated a public-private agenda to spur innovative research at the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and support evidence-based interventions to prevent preterm birth.
Due to the momentum of the 2006 PREEMIE Act, we are making progress.
During the last five years, the preterm birth rate has declined, and now stands below 12 percent for the first time in nearly a decade.
The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act will continue to fuel the progress by supporting federal research and promoting known interventions and community initiatives.
Reauthorizing the PREEMIE Act is critical to protect and maintain the current federal preterm birth-related activities and lay the foundation for future investments.
On Nov. 15, the U.S. Senate passed the S. 1440, PREEMIE Reauthorization Act.
Again, as a constituent I ask the readership to write Rep. Noem to cosponsor and support passage of the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act (S. 1440/H.R. 2679) in the U.S. House during the lame duck session to ensure a healthy start for all of America’s children.
Wendy Lewis, of Sioux Falls, is associate director of program services for the March of Dimes, South Dakota Chapter.