Welcome Congress Updates
Thanks to the amazing dedication of 30+ USBC supporters, Monday's "Welcome Congress" event was a great success! Special welcome kits were delivered to every member of the new 115th Congress, reminding them that "Breastfeeding Saves Dollars and Makes Sense" and asking them to protect the breastfeeding supports within the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Each welcome kit included a dollar-themed notepad; fact sheets and a story booklet about the three key breastfeeding-related components of the ACA; and a customized fact sheet with their state's breastfeeding metrics and information about federally funded breastfeeding projects and the breastfeeding coalition in their state.
- It's not too late to sign on to the welcome message (either as an individual or as an organization). The message calls for Congressional action on priorities compiled from feedback on priority action areas during the National Breastfeeding Month 2016 campaign as well as from the priority strategies of the USBC-affiliated national Constellations of member and partner organizations.
- For those interested in visiting local, in-district offices throughout the month, welcome packet materials are available online to download and print. For an even bigger impact, make an appointment with a staff member to talk about why it's so important that they do their part to support breastfeeding families, and especially to protect the three breastfeeding-related components of the Affordable Care Act. Talking points are included in the downloadable resources.
- Visit the USBC's WeTweet.org partner page to tweet your Members of Congress to share your expectations that they do their part to support breastfeeding families. Simply enter your zip code and select our Welcome Congress message: the tool will auto-populate your Senators' and Representative's Twitter handles for you. It's that easy!
ACA Repeal Update, from Congress
Senators voted 51-48 on Wednesday night to pass the budget resolution that is being used as a vehicle for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with the House expected to vote on Friday. There were many hours of Senate debate this week on the repeal rules, with introduction of over 180 amendments. Of particular note:
- Senator Blumenthal filed an amendment that would create a Point of Order against any legislation that reduces funding for disease prevention efforts, increases the prevalence of disease rates amongst children or reduces or eliminates the Prevention Fund. Cosponsors included: Udall, Coons, Markey, Van Hollen, Franken, Warren, Gillibrand, Murray, Feinstein, Klobuchar, and Brown.
- There was a colloquy on the Senate floor Monday evening in support of the Prevention and Public Health Fund by Senators Blumenthal (D-CT), Franken (D-MN), Schatz (D-HI), and Markey (D-MA).
- Senator Duckworth introduced an amendment intended to preserve the requirement of providing lactation rooms and reasonable break time for nursing mothers.
Following expected approval of the budget resolution in the House, action will move to the four authorizing committees—Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce in the House, and Finance and Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions in the Senate—to address the details of repeal of specific ACA provisions.
"Break Time for Nursing Mothers" Law Investigation, from DOL
The U.S. Department of Labor investigated two popular Solvang tourist restaurants and determined that they denied wait staff break time to express breast milk in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. To address the investigation's findings, the owner signed a compliance agreement with the department, requiring the employer to provide training on Fair Labor Standards Act compliance to management staff, and paid $666 in back wages and damages to the employee for the retaliatory actions that reduced her schedule.
Innovation Center Annual Report, from CMS
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation has released the annual report to Congress on its Innovation Center. The report includes information about the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns (Strong Start) Initiative which resulted in improved breastfeeding rates and lower cesarean section rates.
Cabinet Exit Memo, from HHS
The Department of Health and Human Services has posted Secretary Sylvia Burwell's official Cabinet Exit Memo. The memo outlines some of the progress that was made during the past eight years and highlights some of the steps ahead to continue to build on that progress. Highlights include improved quality of health coverage; improved and expanded early learning programs like Head Start; the creation of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; and enhanced funding and initiatives to promote the health of the American Indian and Alaska Native population.
Prevention Fund Fact Sheet and Updated Website, from CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have updated the Prevention and Public Health Fund webpage and created a fact sheet showing how the fund has been used to accomplish the agency's mission. The fact sheet includes a chart that shows the breakdown of CDC program level funding and also includes a list of Fiscal Year 2016 Prevention and Public Health Fund grant awards for each state.
Action Tool and Talking Points to Protect ACA, from APHA
The American Public Health Association has released an easy to use action tool that allows users to send a message to their senators and representative to urge them to support full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and to oppose any efforts to repeal the law. APHA has also created talking points to help individuals and organizations oppose repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Model State Licensure Bill, from USLCA
Bills establishing licensure for IBCLCs have passed into law in two states—Rhode Island & Georgia—and efforts are underway in other states. In an effort to provide a backbone to state licensure efforts, the U.S. Lactation Consultant Association has released a model bill to guide each state through the process.
Prevention and Public Health in New Administration Webinar, from Dialogue4Health
Please join American Public Health Association, Prevention Institute, Public Health Institute, and Trust for America's Health on Wednesday, January 25, from 2:30-4 p.m. ET for a Dialogue4Health Web Forum featuring a panel discussion highlighting advocacy opportunities to advance prevention, equity and public health with the new Administration and Congress. The Web Forum will also include strategies to ensure robust communications are provided to key audiences including policymakers.
News from the Field
New Public Health Report, from PHLF
The Public Health Leadership Forum has released a report entitled, "The Department of Health and Human Services as the Nation's Chief Health Strategist: Transforming Public Health and Health Care to Create Healthy Communities." PHLF convened a high-level group of public health and private health care policy makers over the past year in preparation for the new administration to develop this vision and series of recommendations pertaining to the Federal Public Health Enterprise.
Nursing in Public Research Results, from Journal of Human Lactation
The Journal of Human Lactation has released an article entitled, "Perceptions of Public Breastfeeding Images and Their Association With Breastfeeding Knowledge and Attitudes Among an Internet Panel of Men Ages 21–44 in the United States." This study aimed to evaluate factors associated with men's visual perception of images of public breastfeeding. Images of public breastfeeding are viewed less favorably by men in the sample than are images of private breastfeeding. Knowledge and attitudes toward breastfeeding are positively associated with perception of breastfeeding images.
Congressional Report Card, from Campaign to End Obesity
The Campaign to End Obesity has released its first-ever report card, "Moving the Needle on Obesity." The Campaign to End Obesity reviewed the activity of the 114th Congress in addressing obesity showing an increased interest in, and support for, policy approaches combating the obesity epidemic. Despite this increased engagement, Congressional action to advance these policies has been minimal, earning both chambers an overall "C" grade.
New WIC Food Packages Report, from NASEM
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released, "Review of WIC Food Packages: Improving Balance and Choice: Final Report." With support from the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, NASEM convened an expert committee to review and assess the nutritional status and food and nutritional needs of the WIC-eligible population and provide specific recommendations based on its review and grounded in the most recently available science. The committee produced three reports, including "Evaluation of White Potatoes in the Cash Value Voucher: Letter Report," recommending that white potatoes be allowed for purchase with the cash value voucher (CVV), and "Review of WIC Food Packages: Proposed Framework for Revisions: Interim Report," presenting the evidence, analyses, and framework to be applied to develop the committee’s recommendations, and this third report, in which the committee provides its final analyses, recommendations, and the supporting rationale. The proposed revisions to the food packages are expected to improve both the attractiveness of the program to participants and its success in meeting the WIC program's goals; to promote and support breastfeeding; and to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children.
Statement on Repeal ACA, from PHI
The Public Health Institute has released a statement opposing efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The statement highlights ACA efforts to reduce health disparities and invest in prevention calling efforts to repeal the ACA in its entirety—especially without an equitable and viable plan for replacement—a shortsighted strategy that will do nothing to reduce healthcare costs.
Collective Impact Connection
Using Data to Advance Policy, from SSIR
The Stanford Social Innovation Review has released an article entitled, "Shifting Philanthropy from Charity to Justice," which calls for a shift in philanthropy toward breaking down longstanding, intentional, institutional policies that have shaped social divides in the United States and that continue to promote inequality. The article outlines seven questions designed to help grantmakers and advisors analyze both the inputs and outputs of their philanthropic efforts with the goal of justice in mind.
News & Views
Environmental Health Perspectives: "Mother's Milk and the Environment: Might Chemical Exposures Impair Lactation?"
JAMA Viewpoint: "Population Health Equity: Rate and Burden, Race and Class"
Quality, Reliability & Leadership (TJC blog): "Innovative Ways to Eliminate Health Disparities"