Victories and achievements
Throughout its long history, March of Dimes has played a critical role in shaping national and state policies that impact the health of women, infants, children and families. March of Dimes is deeply proud of our uncommon record of success, which not only spans many decades but reflects our commitment to working with policymakers across the political spectrum.
Following is just a sampling of key March of Dimes victories and accomplishments:
- The most significant achievement was the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. The legislation included key March of Dimes’ priorities, most notably a new option allowing states to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for up to 12 months for eligible moms and pregnant women. This policy is already making a positive impact for tens of thousands of at-risk women, especially Black moms, across the country.
- On March 11, Congress approved the FY 22 Omnibus Appropriations bill. It included the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act (H.R. 4387/S. 1675) and the Rural MOMS Act (H.R. 769/S. 1491), both top legislative priorities. The budget also includes critical new investments for the following: Maternal and child health and development research programs; newborn screening; health workforce; expansion and enhancement of adult vaccination access; screening and treatment for mental depression; maternal mental health hotline; and substance abuse and mental health treatment for pregnant and postpartum women.
- President Biden signed the Protecting Moms Who Served Act (S. 796) on November 30th. This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement the maternity care coordination program. The VA must also provide community maternity care providers with training and support with respect to the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum veterans, particularly regarding mental and behavioral health conditions.
- California’s Momnibus Act (S.B. 65) was signed into law on October 4th. This innovative and comprehensive legislation reforms maternal and infant care in order to eliminate racial gaps in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity in California. It was inspired by federal Momnibus (S.346/H.R.959) legislation.
- Postpartum benefits were extended in GA, TX, NJ, VA and& others states guaranteeing momthers will maintain their Medicaid coverage for 12 months (extending the previous 60 day period) after the end of the pregnancy. This important step will help these states provide pregnancy-related care to preventing unnecessary postpartum-related illness and death.
- March of Dimes played a critical role in ensuring Congress provided $2 million in 2017 for activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent preterm birth. March of Dimes also helped preserve funding for critical public health programs, such as newborn screening, immunizations, and the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant.
- March of Dimes helped defeat proposals in both the U.S. House and Senate that would have undermined critical protections for women, children and families, like the requirements that all plans cover people with pre-existing conditions and include maternity coverage.
- Across the nation, March of Dimes secured 207 state and local legislative and regulatory victories across a wide range of maternal and child health priorities, such as protecting Medicaid coverage for pregnant women, expanding life-saving newborn screening to more conditions, and restricting access to tobacco products.
- The March of Dimes led a coalition of almost 100 health, public health, provider and other organizations in successfully championing Congressional passage of $1.1 billion for research and prevention efforts to combat Zika virus.
- The March of Dimes played a critical role in promoting the inclusion of key maternal and child health provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act. These included the creation of a federal task force to make recommendations about including pregnant and breastfeeding women in clinical trials in order to increase knowledge of medication safety during pregnancy and lactation; providing grants to states to increase screening for and treatment of postpartum depression; and removing a key barrier to the development of vaccines for use during pregnancy.
- The March of Dimes, in partnership with many other organizations, successfully promoted passage of much-needed reforms to the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act, the law that regulates all chemicals in commerce in the U.S. The law now requires special evaluation of the impact chemicals will have on pregnant women, infants and children.
- The March of Dimes successfully concluded an almost decade-long effort to persuade the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to permit voluntary fortification of corn masa flour - a dietary staple for many Hispanic families - with the B vitamin folic acid. Folic acid helps prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.
- Across the nation, March of Dimes accumulated 110 victories on key maternal and child health issues, such as newborn screening, health coverage, birth spacing and smoking cessation.
- The March of Dimes championed Congressional passage of Public Law 114-91, the Protecting Our Infants Act, a bill to support efforts to collect and disseminate strategies and best practices to prevent and treat maternal opioid use and abuse, as well as to provide recommendations for diagnosing and treating babies suffering from withdrawal after birth.
- Across the nation, March of Dimes chapters have accumulated 128 victories on key maternal and child health issues, such as newborn screening, access to care, and tobacco cessation.
- The March of Dimes led a broad coalition of organizations in championing Congressional passage of Public Law 113-240, the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act, a bill to renew federal programs that support states’ efforts to screen every newborn for dozens of conditions that can threaten their lives or health. (For more, see In this Topic box.)
- Across the nation, March of Dimes chapters accumulated 88 victories on key maternal and child health issues, such as newborn screening, access to care, and immunizations.
- The March of Dimes, in partnership with many other stakeholders, led efforts to promote and secure Congressional passage of Public Law 113-55, the PREEMIE Act, a bill to focus federal programs on prevention, education and research on preterm birth. (For more, see In this Topic box.)
- The March of Dimes also led concerned organizations in persuading Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to use her authority to extend the Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders, the committee that makes recommendations about which conditions all newborns should be screened for. Without this action, the committee would have gone dormant until Congress renewed it, suspending its vital work.
- Across the nation, March of Dimes chapters accumulated 104 victories on key maternal and child health issues, such as newborn screening, access to care, and tobacco cessation.
- The March of Dimes obtained the cosponsorship of two-thirds of all U.S. Representatives and all U.S. Senators for its March of Dimes Commemorative Coin Act, a bill to authorize the U.S. Mint to strike a commemorative coin in 2015 to mark the March of Dimes 75th anniversary, with a portion of proceeds going to the March of Dimes.
- Across the nation, March of Dimes chapters accumulated over 70 victories on key maternal and child health issues, such as access to care, newborn screening, and folic acid promotion.
- The March of Dimes played a critical role in promoting the inclusion of key maternal and child health provisions in Public Law 111-148, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). These included the explicit inclusion of maternity care and newborn care among essential health benefits and full coverage of tobacco cessation for women covered by Medicaid.
- The March of Dimes was a key player in the development and passage of Public Law 111-3, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. In particular, the March of Dimes helped craft landmark new quality measurement and improvement provisions, which were later used as a model for other national efforts.
- The March of Dimes led efforts to draft and pass Public Law 110-204, the original Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act, to bring greater consistency to newborn screening programs nationwide.
- The March of Dimes championed the development and passage of Public Law 109-298, the PREEMIE Act, a bill to focus federal efforts in support of the then-new March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign.
- The March of Dimes played a key role in passage of Public Law 106-310, the Children’s Health Act, a landmark package of bills to improve child health. Of special note, this law created the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), expanded federal folic acid promotion programs, broadened Safe Motherhood programs at CDC, established the federal newborn hearing screening grants program, and created the Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children.
- The March of Dimes was deeply involved in the creation and passage of Public Law 105-33, a major budget bill which also created the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (now known as CHIP).