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: Data Book for Policy Makers
Frequently Asked Questions
Are charities allowed to lobby?
The March of Dimes is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3), which defines us a charity, meaning that we are exempt from federal income tax and donations to us are tax-deductible for the donors.
This designation stipulates that as a tax-exempt organization, we must be nonpartisan, so we cannot ever endorse a particular politician or political party. And it means our lobbying must be "minimal" - meaning that resources devoted to it are constrained. As long as we stay within that framework, the law and regulations provide that we may lobby at all levels of government.
If the price of stamps goes up, does this affect the March of Dimes?
Yes, the March of Dimes takes advantage of the Nonprofit Standard Mail rates and other incentives offered by the U.S. Postal Service. So we are closely following the currently proposed 4 to 6 percent increase in these rates. If allowed to go into effect, this would substantially increase mailing costs for the March of Dimes as well as other nonprofit organizations.
When was FDR’s profile put on the dime?
In 1945, U.S. Representative Ralph H. Daughton of Virginia introduced H.R. 4790 to create a dime "bearing the likeness of Franklin Delano Roosevelt." The dime was chosen due to the significance of President Roosevelt asking the public to send a dime for research to stop the incidence of polio and to aid victims of the disease. Following passage in both the House and the Senate, President Truman signed the legislation into law. The first Roosevelt dime was minted in 1946.