Federal funds for newborn screenings

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) celebrated the passage of her Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1281) by the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The bill, which renews funding for her Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007, seeks to eliminate preventable newborn deaths and severe disabilities through the increased use of comprehensive and standardized newborn screening tests. “I thank my colleagues for supporting this critical legislation,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard following the bill’s passage by the House. “By passing the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act, the House has reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that babies continue to receive a comprehensive and consistent set of screening tests, and giving parents and professionals centralized access to newborn screening information.”

“I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to my lead co-sponsor, Congressman Michael Simpson, a longtime champion of newborn screening services and an original co-sponsor of the first version of this legislation.  I also want to thank Senators Kay Hagan and Orrin Hatch for their sponsorship of the Senate companion bill, which passed that body by unanimous consent in January.  And I am grateful to the coalition of public health groups, especially the March of Dimes and the Association of Public Health Laboratories, for promoting and sustaining support for our newborn screening legislation over many years.  Our collective efforts to rapidly identify and treat these disorders are making a difference between health and disability, and even life and death, for the children affected by these severe diseases.  As a result of the original bill, 44 states and the District of Columbia require screening of at least 29 of the 31 core treatable conditions.  Where a baby is born should not determine its chance for a healthy future.”

“I am so pleased to see the House take up and pass the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act,” said Congressman Simpson (ID-02). “Though it doesn’t receive a lot of national media attention, this bill is as important as any we will pass this year. Screening detects conditions that are often undetectable at birth and if left untreated can cause disability, developmental delay, illness, or even death.”

“Newborn screening allows us to save lives and prevent serious disability,” said March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse.  “Given that one in every 300 infants has a condition that can be detected through this screening, newborn screening represents an indispensable investment in health, families, and our economy.  The March of Dimes is deeply grateful to Representatives Roybal-Allard and Simpson for their steadfast leadership on this issue vital to newborn and their families.”



Published: June 26, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 11