President Signs Alexander, Bennet Bill to Help Prevent Premature Births

Posted on December 19, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 19, 2018 – President Trump has signed into law legislation sponsored by Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) to reduce infant deaths and improve infant health by continuing research and education programs aimed at preventing preterm births.  

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act on December 11, 2018. The Senate passed the legislation September 12, 2018 and the Senate health committee approved it on June 26, 2018.

“In Tennessee, about 11 percent of babies are born preterm,” said Alexander. “Since it was first signed into law in 2006, this legislation has helped improve our understanding of premature births and support health care professionals caring for these infants. I am glad President Trump has signed this vital legislation so we can continue to give more babies the chance at long and healthy lives.”

“Every child deserves a healthy start in life, and this law will increase those odds for babies at risk of premature birth,” Bennet said. “Because the PREEMIE Act is now reauthorized, more research, education, and treatment will be available to reduce premature births and support expectant mothers and their children.” 

Senator Alexander introduced the PREEMIE Act—to help reduce infant mortality—in 2003, and it was first signed into law in 2006. The law was reauthorized in 2013 and was also sponsored by Alexander and Bennet.

The legislation that the president signed this week reauthorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) research and data collection on infants born premature and reauthorizes programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) aimed at improving the treatment and outcomes of infants born premature for the next five years. This includes grants to help providers and the public understand the potential risk factors for having a preterm baby, such as smoking, and grants to screen and treat expectant mothers for substance use disorders, including opioid use disorders. The bill also includes new provisions to help improve maternal health.

###

Lamar Alexander is the senior senator from Tennessee, and he serves as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. For his full biography, click here.