Upton Thankful as Multi-Year Effort to Help Prevent and Treat Premature Births, Boost Pediatric Care Finally Law

November 27, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today applauded the news that the president had signed the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act into law. This is the second Energy and Commerce Committee bill to be signed into law in recent days. The president last week signed the HOPE Act, a law that will eliminate the restriction on acquiring HIV-positive organs in order to permit research on transplants involving HIV-positive individuals. The HOPE Act is expected to save hundreds of lives each year.

“Although our bipartisan effort to boost pediatric care began several years ago, the delays never deterred our commitment to getting it done. Seeing the PREEMIE Act package of reforms across the finish line and now law is something we can all be thankful for this year,” said Chairman Upton. “This law will especially have a direct and profound impact on the lives of families like the Kennedys in Mattawan, Michigan, whose daughters Brooke and Brielle are battling the rare disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It is often difficult to conduct research into rare diseases due to the small number of people affected. But today, with great thanks to Brooke and Brielle for serving as an inspiration, we create a new research network to provide families like the Kennedys with greater hope for a cure and advances in treatment.”

With an average of one in eight children born prematurely, the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act seeks to strengthen the ongoing effort to track, prevent, and treat prematurity to ensure children have a healthy start and a productive future. Chairman Upton sponsored the original PREEMIE Act that was signed into law in December 2006. The bipartisan legislation also provides for the creation of the National Pediatric Research Network to facilitate research to help children with rare and genetic diseases. The House passed similar stand alone legislation, H.R. 225, to create the network in February. H.R. 225 was authored by Reps. Lois Capps (D-CA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) spearheaded the House version of the PREEMIE Act.

Read about the Kennedy family here.

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