Appropriate use of pasteurized donor human milk saves lives, improves short- and long-term health of infants, promotes breastfeeding, and saves health care dollars. Insurance coverage for donor milk will ensure that it will reach all babies who need it, regardless of their income, zip code, or hospital in which they were born.
The Massachusetts House and Senate are considering two related bills on insurance coverage for donor milk. House and Senate bills H995 and S633, each called “An Act relative to human donor milk coverage,” currently sit in the Joint Committee for Financial Services, which held a hearing on October 8. We need your support to move this bill forward and educate legislators about the safety and efficacy of donor milk from nonprofit milk banks certified by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).
What to do now
If your own state representative or senator sits on this committee, please write to him or her now, with a copy to the committee chairs. If your legislators do not sit on the committee and you wish to help, you can write to the committee chairs. They are more likely to read paper letters than email because of the volume of email they receive. You may also write on paper and send an email copy. Feel free to send us a copy of your letter for our records. Phone calls are also very effective.
What to say
If you have personal experience with receiving or donating milk—or not receiving donor milk when your baby needed it—tell your story. If you have medical or insurance expertise, please share your perspective. Other talking points to consider:
- Pasteurized donor human milk saves lives, improves outcomes, and saves money.
- Massachusetts hospitals use donor milk from Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, a nonprofit HMBANA milk bank. HMBANA, in conversation with the FDA and CDC, has set the standard for donor milk safety for over 30 years.
- Governor Baker has placed renewed emphasis on preventive services in his new proposed health care bill. Donor human milk is an essential intervention that can mitigate a lifetime of health complications for fragile infants.
- Ask for the bill to be reported out of committee favorably (this means that they will send the bill on to the next step in the legislative process, which may be consideration by another committee or a vote by the legislature).
Links and information:
List of Joint Committee on Financial Services members: find out if your legislators are on it.
Webcast of October 8 committee hearing
The hearing addressed many bills. Scroll to 1:37 and 2:28 for testimony relevant to these bills.
If you have questions or would like to get involved, contact our Director of Community Relations. Thank you for helping us educate these legislators about the importance of insurance coverage for lifesaving donor milk.