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 Legislative and Policy Corner

Three Public Health Bills Overwhelmingly Pass House
On Feb. 26, the House of Representatives considered three bills focused on funding health research and providing more resources to public health officials. All three passed on unanimous or near-unanimous votes, demonstrating that while Congress remains deadlocked on many hot button issues, there is broad support on both sides of the aisle for addressing a range of public health matters. All three bills now move to the Senate for consideration. Information on each bill is included below.

H.R. 767, the SOAR to Health and Wellness Act of 2017, was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and would provide health care professionals training on how to identify and appropriately treat human trafficking victims. H.R. 1222, the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2017, was introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and would enhance research and surveillance of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, award grants to further study CHD and direct the National Institutes of Health to report on their ongoing research efforts. H.R. 2410, the Sickle Cell Disease Research, Surveillance, Prevention, and Treatment Act of 2017, was introduced by Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and would reauthorize the sickle cell disease prevention and treatment demonstration program, which provides grants to states for collecting data and researching ways to improve access to care for individuals with sickle cell disease complications.

Title X Funding Announcement
On Feb.23 the Department of Health and Human Services released the Title X Family Planning funding opportunity announcement (FOA). The FOA differs from those in previous years in that it makes repeated favorable mention of "natural family planning" and abstinence programs, while contraceptives were not mentioned. While the language in the FOA is a departure from previous years, no organizations have been prohibited from applying. AMCHP's policy team will monitor developments as the Title X grant application process continues, and will advocate, as appropriate, for grant funding to be directed toward programs that utilize evidence-based methods for reducing teen pregnancy and improving maternal and child health.

Get Up To Date on Federal MCH Policy
The next event in the All-Member National MCH Policy Call series will take place on April 5 from 2-3 p.m. ET.