CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, August 1, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3187, the March of Dimes Commemorative Coin Act of 2011, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The bill was introduced by Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL) on October 13, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Financial Services.
H.R. 3187 would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue $1 silver coins emblematic of the mission and programs of the March of Dimes.
The bill would direct all surcharges received by the Secretary from the sale of such coins to be promptly paid to the March of Dimes to help finance research, education, and services aimed at improving the health of women, infants, and children. In addition, the sales price would be required to cover the costs of producing and issuing the coins.
The bill would also subject the March of Dimes to federal audit requirements with regard to funds received from the sale of the coins.
According to the findings of the bill, President Franklin Roosevelt's personal struggle with polio led him to create the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now known as the March of Dimes) on January 3, 1938, at a time when polio was on the rise.
The Foundation established patient aid programs and funded research for polio vaccines developed by Jonas Salk, MD, and Albert Sabin, MD.
Tested in a massive field trial in 1954 that involved 1.8 million schoolchildren known as “polio pioneers,” the Salk vaccine was licensed for use on April 12, 1955 as “safe, effective, and potent.” The Salk and Sabin polio vaccines funded by the March of Dimes ended the polio epidemic in the United States.
With its original mission accomplished, the Foundation turned its focus to preventing birth defects, prematurity, and infant mortality in 1958. The Foundation began to fund research into the genetic, prenatal, and environmental causes of over 3,000 birth defects.
The Foundation's investment in research has led to 13 scientists winning the Nobel Prize since 1954, including Dr. James Watson's discovery of the double helix.
Virginia Apgar, MD, creator of the Apgar Score, helped develop the Foundation's mission for birth defects prevention; joining the Foundation as the head of its new birth defects division in 1959.
In the 1960s, the Foundation created over 100 birth defects treatment centers, and then turned its attention to assisting in the development of Neonatal Intensive Care Units, or NICUs.
With March of Dimes support, a Committee on Perinatal Health released Toward Improving the Outcome of Pregnancy in 1976, which included recommendations that led to the regionalization of perinatal health care in the United States.
Since 1998, the March of Dimes has advocated for and witnessed the passage of the Birth Defects Prevention Act, Children's Health Act, PREEMIE Act, and Newborn Screening Save Lives Act. In 2003, the March of Dimes launched a Prematurity Campaign to increase awareness about and reduce the incidence of preterm birth, infant mortality, birth defects, and lifelong disabilities and disorders.
The March of Dimes actively promotes programs for and funds research into newborn screening, pulmonary surfactant therapy, maternal nutrition, smoking cessation, folic acid consumption to prevent neural tube defects, increased access to maternity care, and similar programs to improve maternal and infant health.
There was no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate available for this bill.