Bills would offer Medicaid funds for breast milk for premature infants

The measures were put forth by Sen. Lauren Book and Rep. Nick Duran.

A pair of Democrats have introduced companion legislation to make Medicaid funds available to reimburse families who require donor breast milk for premature infants.

The measures were put forth by Sen. Lauren Book of Plantation (SB 756) and Rep. Nick Duran of Miami-Dade (HB 653).

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.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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