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Senate Approves Reauthorization of Healthy Start Initiative

On April 30, the Senate approved, by unanimous consent, the Healthy Start Reauthorization Act of 2007 (S. 1760), after adopting, also by unanimous consent, a substitute amendment by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the bill’s sponsor. The last authorization for the Healthy Start Initiative (P.L. 106-310) expired in 2005. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee approved the measure on March 13 (see The Source, 3/14/08).

S. 1760 would authorize $120 million for the Healthy Start Initiative in FY2008. For FY2009-2013, the amount authorized would be “increased by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers for such year.” The program awards grants to public and private organizations that aim to reduce infant mortality, the number of low birth weight babies, and the number of preterm births. The Healthy Start Reauthorization Act would require the secretary of Health and Human Services to take into consideration grant applicants’ facilitation of “a community-based approach to the delivery of services, and a comprehensive approach to women’s health care to improve perinatal outcomes.” The reauthorization also would include new programs to provide prenatal services in the U.S. border regions.

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