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. The advancement of health equity is a cross-cutting goal incorporated into all advocacy priorities. Issues are organized into the four categories listed below with specific examples cited for each category. Download March of Dimes Advocacy Agenda 2018 here.     

Access to health care for women of childbearing age, infants, children and families

  • Federal and state policies to improve access to health services under:
    • publicly supported health coverage programs such as Medicaid, the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Indian Health Service, and the military TRICARE program;
    • private insurance, including issues related to health insurance Marketplaces, enrollment, benefits, and cost-sharing; and
    • other public programs that support access to health care services, such as the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant and Vaccines for Children.
  • Development, improvement and use of maternal, perinatal, and 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 and other adverse birth outcomes.

Research to prevent prematurity, birth defects and infant mortality

  • 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. 

Prevention and treatment to improve maternal, infant, child, and family health

  • Tobacco, alcohol, marijuana 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, maternal mental health, infectious diseases such as Zika, and the appropriate use of prescription medication.
  • Programs to immunize women of childbearing age, infants, and children, as well as those likely to come into contact with infants, efforts to eradicate polio worldwide, and research to develop new vaccines for pathogens such as Zika virus. 
  • Initiatives to improve prematurity risk detection, pregnancy management, and birth spacing, including Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant program, Title X Family Planning program, 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.
  • Initiatives to address social and cultural determinants of health to reduce social, racial and ethnic inequities in health.
  • Efforts to establish and fund quality improvement and patient safety initiatives, such as perinatal quality collaboratives, to drive development and adoption of data-driven systemic improvements in maternal and child health outcomes.
  • Food and nutrition research, education and services, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and breastfeeding initiatives.
  • Programs to reduce exposure to environmental and reproductive health hazards associated with adverse outcomes in pregnancy and child development.

Institutional concerns for tax-exempt organizations

  • 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 advocacyState Advocacy Priorities & Wins MapResearch & data and March of Dimes Foundation Data Book for Policy Makers.