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Congress Approves Healthy Start Reauthorization

On September 23, the House approved, by voice vote, the Healthy Start Reauthorization Act (S. 1760). The Senate approved the bill on April 30 (see The Source, 5/2/08). The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill on September 17 (see The Source, 9/19/08). The president is expected to sign the bill into law.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said, “The Healthy Start Program was developed in 1991 in order to combat alarming rates of infant mortality and racial disparities in maternal and infant health. It has grown from a small demonstration project with 15 grantees to an impressive 97 grantees in 2005. Healthy Start has since expanded its targeted population to include women and infants through two years postpartum…This legislation reauthorizes appropriations through 2013 for the Healthy Start Initiative. The Healthy Start Program has made great strides in combating infant mortality and in improving maternal and infant health. With increased resources, the Healthy Start Program will be able to continue its important role in improving maternal and infant health outcomes and in reducing health disparities.”

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) said, “In the United States, each year, approximately 6 million women become pregnant. Most women have a safe pregnancy and deliver a healthy infant, but that’s not the experience for all. Healthy Start provides services tailored to the needs of high-risk pregnancies to high-risk pregnant women, infants, and their mothers in geographically, racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse communities with exceptionally high rates of infant mortality in an effort to reduce the factors that contribute to that high infant mortality rate, particularly among minority groups. It is an important program which deserves reauthorization. That’s why I’m happy to support it this evening. I urge members to support this legislation.”

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