U.S. House passes ‘Healthy Babies Act’

Staff Report

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman 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 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,” Jenkins said on the floor during debate on the legislation.

Some of Jenkins’ remarks from the floor also included:

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.

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

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.

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

Jenkins recently visited the Bright Beginnings Unit at Pleasant Valley Hospital, which cares for drug-addicted babies, to discuss the legislation.

The article supplied by the office of U.S. Congressman Evan Jenkins.

Staff Report