Reps. Bustos and Jenkins Introduce Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) announced that they have introduced bipartisan legislation to improve care for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), exposure to opioids during pregnancy.

H.R. 4978, the Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act will expand our knowledge of care of NAS babies, 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 known as the NAS Babies Act, also directs the Government Accountability Office to identify any federal obstacles to care for NAS babies.

The NAS Healthy Babies Act is being marked up in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee on Wednesday, April 20.

“As a mother, there’s nothing more important than making sure all of our children get a healthy start. The scourge of opioid addiction has hurt families in large cities and rural communities across our nation, and we need to do more to address this ongoing crisis, especially when it comes to helping babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act because, as more and more children are born into the world with withdrawal symptoms every year, it’s critically important to make sure we’re doing everything possible to help these kids get on the path to a healthy childhood,” Rep. Bustos said.

“Nearly every community in every state has been impacted by heroin and opioid addiction, and newborns are the most vulnerable victims of this epidemic. The sounds of babies crying as they experience drug withdrawal are heartbreaking, and we can only truly address this crisis by working together. The NAS Healthy Babies Act will build on efforts in Congress to combat the drug crisis, identify federal barriers to care, and expand our knowledge of care and treatment of neonatal abstinence syndrome. I am proud to stand with Rep. Bustos to introduce this bill, and I will continue to fight for legislation and solutions to give these babies a chance for a healthy start to life,” Rep. Jenkins said.

The bill is also cosponsored by Reps. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.).