Advocacy and Government Affairs Issues and Advocacy Priorities
The March of Dimes advocacy agenda focuses on public policies and programs that relate to the Foundation's mission -- improving the health of infants and children by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality -- and on issues that pertain to tax-exempt organizations. Advocacy initiatives are designed to support the March of Dimes priority of health equity. Issues are organized into the four categories listed below with specific examples cited for each category. A star in the left margin indicates that the issue is a Foundation-wide advocacy priority for the year 2015. Federal advocacy on any issues listed may also require participation by Chapters.
- Federal and state policies to improve access to health services under:
a. publicly supported health coverage programs such as Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP), including coverage of pregnant women under CHIP; and
b. private insurance, including issues related to Health Insurance Marketplaces, benefits, and cost-sharing.*
- Development and use of maternal, perinatal, pediatric quality measures across all health care settings and types of coverage.*
- Initiatives to improve the health of infants and children living with birth defects and health problems associated with preterm birth.*
- Federal and state initiatives to improve maternal and child health care, and strong standards to protect patient privacy.
- Surveillance and research on key maternal and child health priorities at the state, federal, and international levels, including on birth defects, prematurity, and infant mortality.*
- Data collection and research funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other Federal agencies to increase knowledge relating to the promotion of healthy pregnancies and the prevention of birth defects, prematurity and infant mortality.
- Smoking, alcohol and substance abuse prevention and cessation initiatives affecting women of childbearing age and children, including prevention of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.*
- Health education and promotion for patients, families and providers regarding healthy pregnancy, including folic acid, preconception care, and the appropriate use of prescription medication.*
- Programs to immunize women of childbearing age, infants and children, efforts to eradicate polio worldwide, and research to develop new vaccines.*
- Initiatives to improve prematurity risk detection and pregnancy management, including Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant programs and Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation.*
- Federal and state initiatives to expand newborn screening, consistent with the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel, as well as treatment of disorders identified through screening.*
- Food and nutrition research, education and services, such as the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
- Initiatives to address social and cultural determinants of health to reduce social, racial and ethnic inequities in health care.*
- Programs to reduce exposure to environmental and reproductive hazards associated with adverse outcomes in pregnancy and child development.
- Federal and state laws and regulations related to tax-exempt organizations.*
- Tax treatment of charitable contributions.
- Postal reform and rate changes.
See also: Federal Advocacy, State Advocacy and March of Dimes Foundation Data Book for Policy Makers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the history of government programs for women and children?
Title V of the Social Security Act, was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935. Title V, or the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services program, pledged support to states to provide services that would protect the "health of our nation's mothers and children."
What federal agencies are involved in premature birth research?
Multiple federal agencies support prematurity-related research but among the most engaged are the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health and Maternal and Infant Health Research within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How can I learn what conditions newborns are screened for in my state?
Two key resources are the National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center and the March of Dimes. You can easily compare state programs on our Peristats website.