House Passes Rep. Jenkins’ Healthy Babies Act

From Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. House of Representatives has passed bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) to help improve care for babies born exposed to drugs during pregnancy.

 

H.R. 4978, the Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act, also known as the NAS Healthy Babies Act, would expand our knowledge of care of babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), including the prevalence of NAS in the United States, the number of NAS babies covered by Medicaid, the settings for care for NAS babies, obstacles to care, and access to care for NAS babies under state Medicaid programs.

 

“For the past five years, I have worked tirelessly in my hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, to help those treating newborns with NAS to find new, innovative treatment methods. This firsthand experience highlighted the many challenges facing hospitals, doctors, nurses, and others seeking to treat these babies. And it has shown me the suffering these babies experience and just how much we need to help them,” Rep. Jenkins said on the floor during debate on the legislation.

 

The full transcript is below.

“Thank you Mr. Speaker. As you just heard, every 25 minutes in this nation, a baby is born who was exposed to drugs during pregnancy. This is called neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS, and it is a devastating way to begin one’s life.

 

“Today before the House is the Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act. I’m proud to sponsor this bipartisan legislation that will expand our knowledge of care for babies born with NAS.

 

“Hearing the sounds of babies crying as they experience drug withdrawal are heartbreaking. We can only truly address this crisis by working together.

 

“For the past five years, I have worked tirelessly in my hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, to help those treating newborns with NAS to find new, innovative treatment methods.

 

“This firsthand experience highlighted the many challenges facing hospitals, doctors, nurses, and others seeking to treat these babies. And it has shown me the suffering these babies experience and just how much we need to help them.

 

“This bill will bring much-needed information on best practice models of care to our healthcare providers for the most vulnerable impacted by the drug crisis.

 

“Through this bill, we will also learn more about how many newborns are suffering from withdrawal, and more about the federal obstacles to treating them.

 

“This bill will bring us closer to guaranteeing a healthy and happy start to life for every newborn.

 

“Thank you to the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Chairman Upton and Chairman Pitts for their tireless work to find solutions to the drug crisis and to help NAS babies start their lives healthy and happy. And thank you to Congresswoman Cheri Bustos for joining me in cosponsoring this legislation.

 

“We are making progress, and we must continue to strive for solutions to this tragic epidemic. I yield back.”

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