Bustos Bill to Improve Care for Babies Born with Heroin Addiction Passes the House of Representatives

WASHINGTON – Today Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) announced that her bipartisan bill, the Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act (H.R. 4978), passed the House of Representatives with unanimous support. This common sense legislation, which will be included in a package of bills passed by the House to address the scourge of heroin addiction across our nation, will move to the Senate for consideration.

“As a mother, I can’t think of anything more important than helping our children lead healthy lives so I’m very proud that my bipartisan bill to improve care for babies born addicted to heroin and other deadly opioids has passed the House and now heads to the Senate,” Congresswoman Bustos said.Heroin addiction has ravaged too many families across Illinois and we must all do our part to address this crisis – that begins by making sure babies born with addiction and withdrawal symptoms get the highest quality care possible. While we still have a lot of work ahead of us, I’m very pleased that Democrats and Republicans are working together to help vulnerable infants in hospitals across our nation.”

Last month, Congresswoman Bustos introduced the bipartisan Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act with Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.), and two weeks ago it passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This legislation will expand our knowledge of care for babies born 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, and access to care for NAS babies under state Medicaid programs. The bill also directs the Government Accountability Office to identify any federal obstacles to care for NAS babies so that medical experts can ensure that the highest standard of care possible is implemented at all points of health care delivery.

Late on Wednesday, Congresswoman Bustos also spoke in support of her legislation on the House Floor and her remarks can be viewed by clicking here:

Below is the text of Congresswoman Bustos’ remarks as prepared:

Thank you, Congressman Green, for yielding me time…

And for working with me to find better treatment for babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, known as N.A.S.

Mr. Speaker… every 25 minutes in America, another baby is born addicted to heroin or other deadly opioids…

Resulting from their mother’s struggle with addiction.

As the heroin epidemic sweeps our towns, our cities, and impacts far too many of our families…

Many of the most overlooked victims have been the most vulnerable among us.

It’s a heart-wrenching picture…

An innocent newborn… trembling and crying uncontrollably… clenching her small fists and gasping for air…

These are just a few of the symptoms babies face when they’re born addicted to opioids.

As a mother and a grandmother, nothing is more upsetting or more demanding of our immediate attention.

And if this isn’t a call to action… I don’t know what is.

That’s why I joined my friend from West Virginia, Evan Jenkins, to introduce the Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act …

This bipartisan legislation will improve care for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

It will expand our knowledge of care for N.A.S. babies…

Including its prevalence in the United States…

It will also examine access to care for N.A.S. babies under state Medicaid programs…

And direct the Government Accountability Office to identify any federal obstacles to care for N.A.S. babies.

In short, this legislation will do a top to bottom review to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help babies born with addiction and withdrawal.

Mr. Speaker… we must do our part to help ALL of our children reach their full potential.

I yield back the balance of my time.

###