Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ 07) tonight hailed the passage of S. 252, the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act. Lance authored the House companion to the legislation and with tonight's vote the bill heads to the President for his signature.
"Our Nation's premature birth rate is one of the highest in the world, and it is the leading cause of newborn death in the United States," said Lance, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and member of the Health Subcommittee. "This bipartisan legislation will provide vital continued research and education in the national effort to reduce preterm births. Tonight we advance the great progress made since the 2006 PREEMIE Act by supporting federal research and community involvement to prevent preterm birth. This is how Congress should work - together- on issues that make a lasting difference."
Lance's bill will open federal research and encourage work related to preterm labor and the treatment of newborn infants. The legislation was formed in conjunction with the national March of Dimes, the organization that has long championed this effort. "The March of Dimes has been instrumental in this effort," Lance added. "Since 2006, 176,000 babies have been born closer to term because of improvements in research and success in innovation. The end result is much to be proud of: healthier infants, intact families and billions of dollars in savings. Its work and this law has spurred innovative research that has truly made a difference."
"Today, one in every nine infants in our nation is born preterm," stated March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse. "Prematurity can lead to a host of adverse health consequences for these babies and place a terrible strain on their families. In addition, preterm birth carries a significant cost to businesses and our economy. Each preterm birth costs, on average, 12 times as much as a full-term birth, meaning that care for each preterm baby costs more than that for the other eight full-term infants combined. The March of Dimes commends the U.S. Congress for passing the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act to help prevent preterm birth and research its causes. We are deeply grateful to the bill's sponsors, Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ), for championing this issue vital to children and families."