Sen. Lauren Book is pushing for legislation that would allow families to be reimbursed through Medicaid for premature infants that require donor breast milk.
Book backed a similar bill during the 2019 Legislative Session, along with Rep. Nick Duran in the House.
The Plantation Democrat has now introduced a measure for the 2020 Session (SB 42).
“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,” the bill reads.
Medicaid covers around 60 percent of the costs for Florida’s 223,000 annual births, according to Book. 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.
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 last year. “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.”