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Another Bipartisan HELP Committee-Led Health Bill Passes Senate

Last night, Senate unanimously approved the newborn screening bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee today announced that another bipartisan, HELP Committee-led bill passed the Senate.  The bill supports and improves critical programs to identify, diagnose, and treat medical conditions among newborn babies that, if left untreated, can cause disabilities, developmental delays, illnesses or even death.  If diagnosed early, many of these conditions can be successfully managed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named newborn screening as one of the top ten public health achievements of the 20th century, and the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act has further improved this vital service for the more than four million babies born in the U.S. every year who are screened for genetic and metabolic conditions at birth. This legislation has resulted in over 12,000 infants with treatable newborn conditions being identified every year since 2008, and this reauthorization bill will further improve the timeliness and quality of newborn screening and follow up.

The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act (S. 1417) was approved by the HELP Committee on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.  Harkin helped to lead this effort with Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT.)

“Newborn screening programs are key to the early detection and treatment of conditions that affect newborns. This bipartisan bill will help ensure that infants and families get timely, accurate screenings that can mean the difference between life and death," Harkin said. “By giving states the support they need to improve their newborn screening programs, we can help pediatricians and other providers find and treat any medical conditions at the earliest possible time. Plain and simple, these screening programs save lives and I want to thank Senators Hagan and Hatch for their leadership on this effort.”

For more information on the HELP Committee’s bipartisan health work, please click here.