PREEMIE or “Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early Act” was passed and signed into law by President Bush in 2006. According to the March of Dimes, preterm birth rates dropped for five consecutive years after rising steadily for three decades, after the original PREEMIE Act passed in 2006.
The original PREEMIE Act provided for the expansion of federal research of premature labor, premature birth, and outcomes for premature infants. It also authorized financial support for prevention and management of prematurity education for the public and health providers. The act expired in 2011 and has yet to be reauthorized.
According to the CDC, about 500,000 babies are born premature each year. That means 1 of every 9 infants born in the United States is a preemie. Technically, an infant is considered a preemie if it is born prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm birth is the leading cause of long-term neurological disabilities in children. Premature lungs caused by an early birth can turn each run of the mill cold into pneumonia for many years to come. Preemies are at risk for a very serious illness called NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis), an infection on the intestines that can cause major damage and even death. Premature babies are also at a much higher risk for developing feeding, vision and hearing problems. And, preemies that are born before 26 weeks, otherwise known as micro preemies, are at risk of developing cerebral palsy due to brain bleeds after birth. Preterm births cost the U.S. health care system more than $26 billion each year.
Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) introduced the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act of 2013. It is comprehensive legislation reauthorizing critical federal research and programs that will help identify the causes of premature births, and work to prevent them.
Please join me in the effort to get this legislation passed. You can click on the March of Dimes link below, which takes you to their Advocacy Action Center. Then scroll down a bit and to “PREEMIE Reauthorization Act Introduced in U.S. Congress” to send an email to your local representatives letting them know how important the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act of 2013 is to you and your family. You can send it as is, or customize it, or even print it to send in the regular mail. And you can also support the “Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act” while you’re there! I will discuss that in a future post.
Thank you for your time and support! I would love to hear if any members of our government respond to you.