A pair of Democrats have introduced companion legislation to make Medicaid funds available to reimburse families who require donor breast milk for premature infants.
Medicaid covers around 60 percent of the costs for Florida’s 223,000 annual births, according to the lawmakers. Fewer than one percent of those births results in extremely low birth weights.
Often, those infants rely on pasteurized breast milk, provided through donations. But that milk is not currently covered by Medicaid. The pair of proposals would change that.
“The [Agency for Health Care Administration] may pay for the cost of donor human milk, for home and inpatient use, for which a licensed physician or nurse practitioner has issued an order for an infant who is medically or physically unable to receive maternal breast milk or breastfeed or whose mother is medically or physically unable to produce maternal breast milk or breastfeed,” reads Book’s version.
“This is compassionate, fiscally responsible, and lifesaving legislation,” Duran said.
“We can prevent devastating, costly conditions by following the science and our hearts. This is one of the most important bills we can pass this year — its impact will be immediate.”
One of the primary medical issues aided by pasteurized breast milk is called Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). NEC affects the infants’ intestines, but studies have shown that the milk can help deal with the disease.
“We have an obligation to care for our most vulnerable children,” Book said.
“Partial reimbursement for certified donor milk to prevent life-threatening conditions is the right thing to do morally, scientifically, and economically. We can save lives and save money. It is one of those rare situations where everyone wins.”