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Both the House and Senate voted to pass the budget resolution that is being used as a vehicle for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This broad budget resolution will serve as the "container" within which Congress plans to repeal certain provisions. However, nothing of substance has been decided yet, and it will likely be weeks or even months before we know what to expect for the ACA breastfeeding provisions. Although everything is still very much up in the air right now, action alerts will be fast and furious in the weeks ahead. That's why we launched a new text alert system to ensure that our dedicated supporters can quickly and easily respond to action opportunities right from their phone. Sign up by texting USBC to 555888!
Proposed Rule for 2018 Insurance Marketplace, from CMS
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a proposed rule for 2018, which aims to stabilize the individual and small group health insurance markets. This proposed rule would make changes to special enrollment periods, the annual open enrollment period, guaranteed availability, network adequacy rules, essential community providers, and actuarial value requirements; and announces upcoming changes to the qualified health plan certification timeline.
Alternate Fair Pay & Paid Leave Bills Reintroduced, from Congress
Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) has introduced the Workplace Advancement Act and the Strong Families Act as measures that would help America's women and families by addressing the gender wage gap and the nation's lack of paid family and medical leave. The National Partnership for Women & Families has published a press release entitled, "Fake Fair Pay, Paid Leave Proposals Would Harm – Not Help – America's Women and Families, Women's Leader Says," explaining how the proposed bills would harm the fight for pay equity and American families.
PRAMS and MCH Data Released, from CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced the release of the 2014 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data and selected 2012–2013 Maternal and Child Health (MCH) data indicators. PRAMS is part of the CDC's Safe Motherhood and Infant Health Initiative to help reduce infant morbidity and mortality by providing data about pregnancy and the first few months after birth that is not available elsewhere. Researchers can request the most recent year of data. Determine data availability by site and year from 1988–2014 by accessing the tables under "Years of Data Available."
Maternity Care Quality Improvement Project Results, from CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) has released a report presenting the results of an evaluation of the Baby-Friendly Hawaii Project (BFHP). The Hawaii State Department of Health received support from the CDC to launch the BFHP to increase the number of Hawaii hospitals that provide maternity care consistent with the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and increase the rate of women who remain exclusively breastfeeding throughout their hospital stay. During the project period, Hawaii's total Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care score increased from 65 (out of 100) in 2009 to 76 in 2011, and to 80 in 2013. Exclusive breastfeeding increased by almost 20% over 5 years. To supplement the study, DNPAO developed a fact sheet outlining key activities and findings from the project. CDC grantees and breastfeeding practitioners can use this document to inform future planning at the state and federal levels on approaches that improve breastfeeding through maternity care practices.
FAMILY Act Reintroduction, from Congress
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have reintroduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY) Act. The FAMILY Act would ensure that workers can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a pregnancy, the birth or adoption of a child, to recover from a serious illness, or to care for a seriously ill family member. Congresswoman DeLauro was joined by 113 original cosponsors on the House bill and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate with 27 cosponsors. Member and partner highlights included:
- American Sustainable Business Council media release: "Businesses Support Introduction of National Paid Leave Proposal"
- CLASP news release: "FAMILY Act Proposes National Paid Family and Medical Leave"
- Family Values @ Work press release: "Senators Gillibrand and DeLauro Re-Introduce FAMILY Act"
- MomsRising statement: "Moms Group Calls on Congress to Pass the FAMILY Act Now"
- National Partnership for Women & Families statement: "The FAMILY Act is the 'Affordable, Comprehensive Paid Leave Plan the Nation Has Long Needed,' Women's Leader Says"
- Pediatric Policy Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics news release: "Major Pediatric Associations Call for Congressional Action on Paid Leave"
Impact of Paid Leave Policy Wins, from Family Values @ Work
Family Values @ Work has shared a booklet of stories and a blog post about the impact of public policy wins on paid sick days and paid family and medical leave programs in honor of the 24th anniversary of Family Medical Leave Act and the re-introduction of the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY) Act. The booklet highlights the stories of everyday Americans whose lives have been transformed because of this work.
News from the Field
Memo on CACFP Meal Plan Updates, from NCA
The National CACFP Sponsors Association has released, "Policy Memo Summary: Feeding Infants and Meal Pattern Requirements in the CACFP; Q&As." The memo explains the new policies concerning creditable infant formula, breastfeeding (both expressed and on-site), and complimentary (solid) food introduction. Many of these regulations are reimbursable before the implementation date.
Report on the Business Case for Paid Leave, from BCG
The Boston Consulting Group has released a report entitled, "Why Paid Family Leave Is Good Business." The report examines the recent experience of 250 private sector companies with recently-introduced and expanded paid family leave policies. The report reveals that a wide range of employers are seeing multiple benefits, which outweigh the costs of providing leave. Read the Executive Summary.
Small Business Recommendations on Paid Leave, from The Main Street Alliance
The Main Street Alliance has released a report entitled, "National Paid Family and Medical Leave Act: A Proposal for Small Business Success." The Main Street Alliance convened a small business working group for a series of focused policy conversations on how best to design a national Paid Family Medical Leave program. These conversations probed the business owners on a range of topics, including length of leave, type of coverage, funding stream, family definition, eligibility criteria, and implementation needs. Insights from these conversations, as well as evidence and insights gleaned from existing programs, form the basis for the policy recommendations contained in this report.
Class Action Lawsuit for ACA Breastfeeding Violations, from Chimicles & Tikellis LLP
Chimicles & Tikellis LLP has filed four landmark class action lawsuits against insurance carriers for failing to provide, cover, and administer comprehensive lactation benefits to all eligible plan participants and beneficiaries as a no-cost preventive service in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. The cases were filed from October 2016 through January 2017.
Collective Impact Connection
Building Resilient Communities, from Tamarack Institute
The Tamarack Institute has released an article entitled, "Why Community Resilience Matters." Community resilience is most often defined as a community's ability to bounce back after a crisis or disaster. In the article, the author explores a second, often overlooked, definition of the term and the rich body of concrete, tangible actions that communities can take to strengthen their resilience.
News & Views
The Lancet: "Health professional associations and industry funding"
The Good Men Project blog: "Why Dads Should Support Their Partners Who Breastfeed in Public"
To the Point (The Commonwealth Fund blog): "ACA Repeal Efforts Would Impact State Laws, Too"